Wales Co-operative Centre

Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru

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Digital Inclusion is one of our most effective weapons in the fight against poverty

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Get Merthyr Tydfil Online launch

Get Merthyr Tydfil Online Launch: (Left to Right) Angela Jones – Communities 2.0, Derek Walker, Chief Executive Wales Co-operative Centre, Mike Owen, Chief Executive Merthyr Valleys Homes, Eleanor Marks, Welsh Government, Ian Benbow, Head of Service, Social Regeneration, Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council.

Derek Walker, Chief Executive of the Wales Co-operative Centre, looks at how digital inclusion, financial inclusion and social enterprise support work together to protect people from poverty and to mitigate against its impact.

Today is the launch of Get Swansea Online, a local initiative that aims to help Swansea’s estimated 45,000 digitally excluded residents to use the internet. This is the latest in a series of initiatives brokered by Communities 2.0, the Welsh Government digital inclusion project.

At yesterday’s launch of another initiative, Get Merthyr Tydfil Online, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty Jeff Cuthbert congratulated Communities 2.0 on its collaborative and partnership led approach. He emphasised the importance of helping people to get online and use the internet to save money and to find jobs. He stated that “digital exclusion compounds isolation” and said that Get Merthyr Tydfil Online has the potential to “reach the most digitally and financially excluded citizens” in the county. Last week the Minister visited a similar initiative in the Caia Park area of Wrexham. The political will is certainly there to ensure that everyone in Wales has access to the internet and the skills to use it effectively in the fight against poverty – but there is still more to be done.

We are very lucky here in the Wales Co-operative Centre. Through our work as lead partner of Communities 2.0, and through our own projects on financial inclusion and social enterprise development, we see the positive improvements our interventions can bring to the lives of people in real danger of falling below the bread line. Across Wales we see people, helped by Communities 2.0 and our financial inclusion initiatives, gain IT skills and use those skills to get jobs and get out of debt.  Communities 2.0 recently supported Torfaen and Blaenau Gwent MIND’s social enterprise arm ‘Training in MIND’ with an investment of nearly £5,000. The support will help pay for new laptop and desktop computers in their IT suite. The IT suite is manned by volunteers running drop-in sessions for people to update their IT skills and search for jobs. The organisation is currently setting up a work club for people who attend the centre. This is an excellent example of a social enterprise integrating digital inclusion and anti-poverty measures into its social aims and on the ground delivery.

At the Wales Co-operative Centre we also see the difference in our communities when they are engaged and enabled and can build social enterprises that reinvest their surpluses back into training and job creation. Galeri Caernarfon Cyf is a social enterprise that is focussed on regenerating the town of Caernarfon. Over the years it has regenerated properties and spaces in the town and opened up a highly successful arts centre. It now employs 36 full time equivalent jobs directly and supports over 40 in its tenant businesses. It is estimated that this one social enterprise has an economic impact of almost £1.3m to the economies of Gwynedd and Ynys Môn. In fact, Galeri is among just 6% of firms in Gwynedd that employ more than 25 people.

The Wales Co-operative Centre receives funding from a number of different sources to allow us to deliver our support work to communities across Wales. Our funders include the European Regional Development Fund, Welsh Government and the Oak Foundation.

This year, we have also led on a project which encourages individuals to use the services of local credit unions to help them ensure that their rent payment gets to their landlords – meaning that they can keep a roof over their own and their family’s heads. In Caerphilly, development staff are working directly with individuals to suggest ways in which they can use existing support and advice to make the money they have last longer.

We are also managing and promoting www.moneymadeclearwales.org  which offers signposting to advice on saving and loans, debt and benefits. Access to digital resources is now intrinsically linked to good money management and to allowing individuals to take control of their own lives.

Financial and digital inclusion doesn’t just reduce isolation, but it allows freedom, liberty and empowerment. It allows individuals and groups to take their next steps forward – individually in the jobs market or as entrepreneurs, and collectively as empowered communities and social enterprises.

We believe that by integrating financial and digital inclusion with community engagement and real support for social enterprises and charities, it is possible to alleviate some of the poverty that currently exists in Wales. But, just as importantly, we believe that this sort of support is empowering. It allows people to make decisions about their own futures. It allows them to build their skills and their confidence and it empowers individuals to lift themselves out of poverty and stay out of it.

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New Minister marks launch of Get Neath Port Talbot Online

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Congratulations to Get Neath Port Talbot Online, the latest strategic initiative from the Welsh Government’s Communities 2.0 programme, which is led by the Wales Co-operative Centre.  Get NPT Online was launched by Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, Jeff Cuthbert at Briton Ferry library this week.

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Jeff Cuthbert, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, at the launch with members of the Briton Ferry Photographic Club.

Designed to tackle poverty by overcoming barriers to work, the initiative has challenging targets for helping people become confident in using computers, and in finding work online.

Through the Communities 2.0 programme, Wales Co-operative Centre staff have brokered a partnership between NPT Homes, Coastal Housing and the local Communities First organisation, to target support at those in greatest need.  Front line staff of all the partner organisations will be trained to help their clients take the first steps towards getting online.  This will be backed up by focussed training and support from a team of volunteers.  People who were previously excluded from job opportunities through lack of skills will set up their own e-mail addresses, develop online CVs and learn how to search job sites.  As a result, they will become included as part of the modern world.

Katy, Rachel and Kevin - the Get NPT Online Outreach Team.

Katy, Rachel and Kevin – the Get NPT Online Outreach Team.

The beauty of Get NPT Online is that it is a genuinely local response to the problems of poverty, worklessness and social exclusion.  It works with the community, not on it.  Get NPT Online is sustainable, because digital inclusion will be embedded in the working practices of the partner organisations.

Across Wales, the Wales Co-operative Centre is delivering programmes in communities that have a tangible economic benefit.  Thanks to funding from the Welsh Government and European Regional Development Fund, people in Neath Port Talbot have a head start.

Are you helping older people get online?

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Communities 2.0 have produced a list of websites that older web users may find interesting or useful. We’ve found this handy to pique their interest and to get them started.

Shopping

  • Amazon
  • Tesco.com
  • Vouchercodes.co.uk
  • Groupon.co.uk
  • uSwitch

Getting and keeping in touch

  • Webmail – e.g. Gmail or Yahoo! mail
  • Skype
  • Facebook
  • Ancestry.co.uk

News websites

  • BBC
  • Twitter
  • Guardian

Local classifieds

  • Gumtree
  • Freecycle
  • Trovit

Blogging

  • WordPress
  • Livejournal
  • Blogger

Microblogging:

  • Twitter
  • Posterous
  • Tumblr

Forums

  • GransNet – conversational forum for older people
  • Saga website
  • IDF50 (I Don’t Feel Fifty)
  • Silversurfers.net
  • Digital Unite – IT advice and discussion for older people

 Others

  • Your doctor’s surgery – making appointments online
  • Your local library – renewing library books online
  • UK crime map
  • Google Earth
  • UK Census Online
  • NHS Direct – health information
  • Manage your bank account online
  • iPlayer for BBC TV show and film playback
  • Metoffice – check the weather
  • Flickr – put your photos online
  • YouTube – videos
  • Yahoo! Answers – ask and answer questions on just about anything
  • DirectGov – renew car tax online and much, much more related to public services e.g. clean beaches map, consumer rights, pensions and travel

Download a copy of the PDF

Communities 2.0 have produced a series of How to guides. Read How to save money online – offers and vouchers websites for a guide to the coupon websites.
For more information and support with getting online and using new technologies, visit www.clickconnectdiscover.org

Written by C Kenzie

July 5, 2011 at 9:23 am

Caerphilly’s BIG Click featuring Cadbury’s Spots vs Stripes

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On Friday 20th May, six venues across Caerphilly Borough will be playing host to free events for Digital Day 2011.

There is so much going on that Caerphilly’s BIG Click has its own website!

The venues are:

  • Ael-Y-Bryn Community Centre, Rhymney
  • White Rose Centre, New Tredegar
  • Markham Primary School (1:00pm until 4:00pm)
  • Siloh Community Centre, Ystrad Mynach
  • Cross Keys Methodist Church
  • Caerphilly Vistors Centre (10:00am until 5:00pm)

Whatever your age feel free to come and have a go as we try and help 500 people get online or using technology in one day.  This is not the end though –  if you want to learn more be sure to let one of the team know on the day and we will arrange more sessions.

Three of these venues will be playing host to Cadbury’s Spots vs Stripes for the Wii consecutively during the day. Come along to Ael-Y-Bryn Community Centre, Siloh Community Centre, and Caerphilly Vistors Centre and help one of these venues get the highest score on the day!

We have put together some easy to use ‘How to’ guides for some popular websites. You can print off these guides and use them alongside your computer, or help someone else to discover how useful the web could be for them. We will add more guides as they are produces, suggestions welcome as to what you’d like to see covered.

Come along to Caerphilly on Friday and meet some of the people involved in Communities 2.0, helping people get online and use digital technology in Wales.

For more information and support with getting online and using new technologies, visit www.clickconnectdiscover.org

Written by C Kenzie

May 18, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Free events across Wales on Digital Day, Friday 20th May

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Friday 20th May is when we will be helping hundreds of people to get online for the first time and others to brush up on their computer skills.

Many events are being held across Wales to reach thousands of people – and they’re all free!

Digital Day is part of Adult Learners’ Week. Staff from Communities 2.0, the Welsh Assembly Government’s digital inclusion programme, will be among those, providing fun learning opportunities through Information Technology (IT).

Visit Click. Connect. Discover to find out where our Communities 2.0 staff will be on the day, and come along to meet them.

Find out about other events being held by local organisations across Wales springonline website (external website).

To help you help someone else get started with the web, we have a selection of ‘how to’ videos on our website. You could also show them Albert’s video where the 73-year-old ex-miner explains why getting online has been so important to him.

There will also be resources to print off and follow for people getting to grips with useful websites for the first time.

Digital Day has also been called ‘Silver Surfer’s Day’ in the past but this year events in Wales are open to everyone over the age of 16 as part of Adult Learners Week.

Previous blog post: Silver Surfers’ Day 2010 – but why should older people bother with the internet?

For more information and support with digital inclusion and getting online, visit www.clickconnectdiscover.org

Written by C Kenzie

May 11, 2011 at 9:44 am

South Merthyr Digital Inclusion Project

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The South Merthyr Digital Inclusion project is now up and running and will cover the whole of the south of the borough.

Two members of staff have been employed who will offer a variety of Digital Inclusion training through drop in, with community groups and through structured classes.

Training will be delivered in a variety of venues including Megabytes Aberfan, the Willows Centre Troedyrhiw, Treharris Library, Ty Pontrhun Pentrebach & Bedlinog Resource centre.

Author: Stephanie Davies, Click. Connect. Discover field officer

If you are interested in finding out more contact Rhodri or Laura 01443 692600. Email rhodri@connect-merthyr.co.uk or laura@connect-merthyr.co.uk

For more information and support with digital inclusion and getting online, visit www.clickconnectdiscover.org

Written by C Kenzie

April 7, 2011 at 9:14 am

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Only 49% of Welsh people say they own a mobile

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WalesOnline  reports:

Ownership of electronic goods like mobile phones and home computers is lower in Wales than in other parts of the UK.

Although computer use is rising steadily, only 68% of Welsh households have a PC at home, compared to 77% in London.

Only 61% have an internet connection, with only Northern Ireland having poorer levels of access to the web. In London and in the south-east of England the figure was 72%.

Perhaps surprisingly only 49% of Welsh people report owning a mobile phone, despite more than 85% owning one in the West Midlands and the south-west of England.

In the wealthiest 10% of households 98% own a computer and 97% are connected to the internet. But in the poorest 10% of households, only 38% had a home computer and 30% were online.

Households with children were also more likely to have an internet connection.

Source: WalesOnline

Click.Connect.Discover runs taster sessions to help you get to know your mobile or smartphone. For more information , visit www.clickconnectdiscover.org

Written by C Kenzie

December 7, 2010 at 9:11 am

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