digital inclusion programme - Niace by liuhongmeiyes


									Rationale for Enhanced Digital
Inclusion: for landlords providing
sheltered accommodation for elderly

Executive summary ............................................................................................................... 3
1.    Introduction .................................................................................................................... 8
2.    Background.................................................................................................................. 10
3.    Purpose ....................................................................................................................... 10
4.    Who is this for? ............................................................................................................ 11
5.    Making the case ........................................................................................................... 12
6.    What is digital inclusion? .............................................................................................. 12
7.    Why should landlords fund a residents’ digital inclusion programme? .......................... 14
8.    Programme models...................................................................................................... 36
9.    Programme options...................................................................................................... 39
10. Planning a sustainable programme .............................................................................. 54
11. The cost of a resident digital inclusion programme. ...................................................... 58
12. Lessons learned and recommendations to landlords .................................................. 59
13. Conclusion ................................................................................................................... 61
14. References .................................................................................................................. 63
15. Appendix 1: About the programme ............................................................................... 65
16. Appendix 2: About the evaluation ................................................................................. 67
17. Appendix 3: Detailed costs for Access option 3 ............................................................ 68
18. Appendix 4: Basic costs - equality of access ................................................................ 69
19. Appendix 5: Encouraging staff support. ........................................................................ 70
20. Appendix 6: Support from landlords ............................................................................. 71
21. Appendix 7: Case study 1. ........................................................................................... 72
22. Appendix 8: Case study 2. ........................................................................................... 77
23. Appendix 9: Case study 3. ........................................................................................... 82
24. Appendix 10: Case Study 4. ......................................................................................... 86
25. Appendix 11: Case Study 5. ......................................................................................... 90

Executive summary

The Get Digital programme demonstrated that using the internet changes and
benefits residents, through increased self confidence, increased social interaction
with other residents, improved relationships with friends and families, easier access
to information, increased awareness of public services, participation in their local
communities, better relationships with scheme staff, enhanced independence and a
more active role in the development of landlord services.3

Participation in the programme also brought huge benefits to staff and landlords,
ranging from increased staff confidence and job satisfaction to opportunities for
landlords to make cost and efficiency savings and increased marketing opportunities.

Benefits to landlords included:
Market advantage. Most landlords identified digital access and equipment as a
business asset and a selling point. They strongly agreed that this would become
increasingly important as landlords sought to attract potential residents from younger
cohorts for whom digital access was already a familiar and expected feature of daily

Cost effective communication. Landlords have already experienced cost savings
through digital communication with their residents.

Resident empowerment. The motivation for many landlords was to encourage
greater resident involvement, in line with the Regulatory Framework for Social
Housing in England. Residents have increased their communications with their
landlord, using new, digital approaches to making their voices heard. Landlords
anticipate further benefits by increasing the quality of service as residents become
more involved in shaping the service they receive.

Support for equality and diversity. There is potential to use technology for resident
inclusion, for example those with a range of disabilities and support needs. Many

participating schemes used adaptive technologies to support residents with a range
of disabilities, support needs and of different ethnic backgrounds.

Strengthened links with the community. The Get Digital programme raised the
community profile of landlords and schemes. This resulted in increased volunteer
activity, better links with other organisations and agencies and an increase in the
schemes’ volunteer base.

Awards and recognition. Participating schemes gained favourable national and
local publicity and awards, raising the profile of the landlord and the schemes.

Benefits to staff included:
Increased job satisfaction. Participation in the programme has widened staffs’
horizons and increased their motivation.

Better communication with residents. Participation has facilitated new
relationships and developed understanding between staff and residents.

Increased staff confidence in ICT. This has resulted in the ability of staff to support
the long term sustainability of residents’ digital activities and has made them more
confident in their use of internal IT systems.

Increased communication with other landlord schemes. Staff reported increased
partnership working and closer links with other schemes as a result of the

Improved communication with landlords. This has resulted in increased staff
satisfaction and established links between staff at central and scheme levels.

Benefits to residents.
The Get Digital programme brought multiple benefits to residents. These included
changes in attitudes to computers, social benefits, changes in attitudes to learning,
increased consumer and resident empowerment, increased access to public

services, improved health management, better communication with landlords, staff,
friends and families.

Participating residents are now:

           Using email or searching for information on the web at least once a week.
        Are confident in searching for and finding information.
        Are likely to use a computer again and will be using the internet: for email;
           to make phone calls, to access public services; to access government
           websites and; to use social networking sites.
        Are finding it easier to keep in touch with people and meet new people.
        Have more contact with family and friends.
        Have increased their social interaction with other residents.
        Have greater confidence in their ability to learn.
        Are more aware of public services and are using them more often.
        Have improved their communication with scheme staff, other residents and
        Are looking after themselves better and knew more about their health.
        Feel more valued.
        Have increased involvement with the local community.

Fostering digital inclusion.
Access to equipment and connectivity alone is unlikely to be enough to foster digital
inclusion as over half of participating schemes already provided internet access for
their residents via communal computers. However, in a substantial proportion of
these schemes, few or no residents had used the equipment prior to the Get Digital
programme. This confirms that access alone will not result in digital inclusion of older
people in this context.

Models of digital inclusion.
Although all Get Digital schemes received very similar training and support, there
were distinct differences in their approach to developing a sustainable programme.
However, analysis of the Get Digital schemes and the Essex UnITe projects

identified a number of critical factors which are common to the long term success of
a residents’ digital inclusion programme.

     Access to appropriate hardware and connectivity
     Ensuring that all residents can participate in the programme
     Support from scheme staff
     Support from landlords
     Resident engagement and inspiration
     Effective and relevant resident training
     Support for residents’ learning
     Residents’ ownership of the programme
     Planning a sustainable programme

Landlords who support their tenants’ digital inclusion are able to realise many
benefits, which include:

     An effective marketing tool promoting good service-user-led services to
       existing and prospective residents.
     Increased customer satisfaction.
     Increased access and opportunities via Choice based lettings.
     A cost-effective communication tool supporting investments made by
       landlords in online information via their own websites.
     Potential cost savings if transactional services such as repairs, maintenance
       requests and finance are switched from face to face or telephone to online
     Improved education, employment and health and wellbeing information and
       awareness for residents.
     Access to funding relating to digital inclusion, life-long learning and digital
     Good practice for audit commission inspections.
     Development of partnerships and associations with a wide range of
       organisations at local and national levels

Landlords who participated in the Get Digital programme have stated that they will
sustain and expand a programme of residents’ digital literacy across their schemes.
As more landlords address the digital inclusion needs of their residents and as
technology use in the housing sector becomes increasingly pervasive, those who do
risk being left behind and marginalised in a competitive market.


    1. Introduction
8.73 million adults in the UK have never used the Internet, representing 17.4 per
cent of the adult population1, with over 65s making up 65% of this group. Yet use of
the internet can bring older people financial and wellbeing benefits, lifelong learning
opportunities and independence.2

As 21% of the over 65 age group in England live in social housing, older people
living in sheltered accommodation make up a substantial proportion of the digitally
excluded population. Landlords have the opportunity to make a real difference to the
lives of their residents by supporting them to access and use the internet effectively.
However this can be seen as an ‘extra’ rather than as an integral part of a service

The Get Digital programme was delivered by NIACE and Digital Unite between
February 2010 and April 2011, on behalf of the Department for Communities and
Local Government (DCLG) and was funded by the Department of Work and
Pensions (DWP).

The aim of the programme was: ‘To create a compelling, sustainable model for
embedding digital literacy for older people in sheltered housing ‘at source’ giving
landlords and other service providers cost effective ways of integrating digital literacy
provision into their core service offering to older residents, and their staffing and
organisational structures.’

Previous initiatives, such as those delivered by Essex UnITe and Digital Unite, which
delivered digital inclusion for elderly residents of sheltered accommodation, had
indicated the benefits of digital inclusion programmes. But much of the evidence was
anecdotal and programme evaluation lacked consistency across different providers.
There had also been limited opportunities to explore the options for the sustainability
of these programmes.

To develop an evidence based rationale for residents’ digital inclusion, the Get
Digital programme worked directly in 196 schemes and online with 300 further
schemes via the Get Digital website. Directly participating schemes received grants,
training and support to promote, deliver and sustain digital literacy skills for their

The rationale was developed mainly from the independent evaluation of the Get
Digital programme, but also draws on evidence from Get Digital scheme project
reports, feedback from scheme manager and landlord meetings, reports from local
digital inclusion projects delivered by ‘Essex UnITe’, financial analysis from Peabody,
information form Race Online 2011/12 and outputs from the Social Housing
Providers’ Digital Inclusion Strategy Group led by UK online, as well as evidence
from a wider literature review.

It evidences the benefits, provides information on what could be achieved through a
residents’ digital inclusion programme, builds on what was learned and aims to
provide landlords with the information they need to be able to justify, plan and deliver
enhanced digital inclusion programmes to their residents.

As a result of the Get Digital programme, many participating landlords have stated
that they will be delivering Digital Inclusion across their housing stock; however the
impact of the programme has been wider as some landlords have been encouraged
by the programme to place Digital Inclusion within their Community Development

Landlords have the opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of their
residents by supporting them to access and use the internet effectively. The rationale
offers a strong case for landlords to embed residents’ digital inclusion programmes
within their service provision, ensuring that their residents have the highest possible
quality of life, are able to play a full part in shaping the future development of their
communities and do not suffer from the social divide which can result from digital

     2. Background
As 21% of the over 65 age group in England live in social housing, older people
living in sheltered accommodation make up a substantial proportion of the digitally
excluded population. To explore ways of addressing this issue, the Get Digital
programme was delivered by NIACE and Digital Unite between February 2010 and
April 2011, on behalf of the Department for Communities and Local Government
(DCLG) and was funded by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

NIACE held the responsibility for project management and led on the delivery of
specific areas of work and the overall programme delivery. Digital Unite managed
the recruitment and training of tutors and support staff, the delivery of resident
training and the establishment of models of support. NIACE also carried out an
independent evaluation of the programme which is published separately.

The Get Digital programme worked directly in 196 schemes and online with 300
further schemes via the Get Digital website. Directly participating schemes received
grants, training and support to promote, deliver and sustain digital literacy skills for
their residents.

The programme was 5 times over- subscribed, with a residents’ participation rate of
over 50%, 2,500 learners benefitting directly from the programme and almost half
(46%) of scheme staff stating that the sheer enjoyment, enthusiasm and interest in
the programme displayed by the residents was the greatest achievement The
programme was well supported, by scheme staff and landlord organisations and
partnerships at a local and national level.

     3. Purpose
A wide variety of landlords are represented in the Get Digital project, with landlords
varying in their structures, interests, values, vision, size and missions. Some
participating landlords are small and independent; some have complex group
structures, some are national in scope, some confined to particular regional or local

geographical areas. Some landlords are very involved in housing related support;
some are strongly driven by the community regeneration agenda, some by social
wellbeing and social care, while some are strongly focussed on the need to engage

Irrespective of their differences, to realistically plan for their residents’ digital
inclusion, landlords need to know: Why they should do this; the benefits; which
models of digital inclusion could be applied; how much it will cost and how it could be

This document systematically deals with the main drivers for change and provides
information on what could be achieved through a residents’ digital inclusion
programme in their sheltered housing provision. Building on what we have learned,
the rationale also offers information and recommendations to landlords which will
help them develop a sustainable residents’ digital inclusion programme within their
service offer.

     4. Who is this for?
The rationale is intended for use by anyone who is interested in addressing the
digital divide through reducing digital exclusion for older people, especially for older
residents of social housing or those in day care settings. This includes:

      Landlords providing sheltered housing for the elderly who are considering the
        introduction of facilities and support for residents who currently have no or
        limited access to the internet.
      Landlords providing sheltered housing for the elderly who have already
        developed plans for the offer to be developed within their own organisations
        and are interested in expanding and sustaining their support for digital
      Local authorities who are planning for digital inclusion in their boroughs and
        their social housing stock and could use this as an early prevention tool for
        vulnerable people not able to access services and support.

      Policy-makers considering how to improve housing services for older people
      Third sector organisations interested in working with older residents in the
         community development, social housing or day care settings.
      Landlords interested in using technology as a cost effective means to
         empower and consult with residents.
      Landlords interested in enabling their tenants to use the internet to access
         information and tenant services.
      Landlords considering the market advantages offered by residents’ digital
      Social housing providers, such as housing associations or local authorities
         and social housing providers which contract out the management of their
         housing stock to, for example, an ALMO (arm's length management

     5. Making the case
The rationale is intended for use by anyone who can influence how support may be
given to address the issue of digital exclusion for older people. This includes use by:

        “Champions” to present and disseminate within their own organisations,
         helping to strengthen the case for self funded programmes. Champions could
         be individual scheme staff, residents associations, community development
         managers, or members of a senior management team.
        Landlord executive committees, when considering the inclusion of a residents’
         digital inclusion programme in their strategic objectives.
        Housing associations currently reviewing their strategic planning.

     6. What is digital inclusion?
Digital inclusion is largely defined as a particular group such as older people having
access to an internet connection and having the skills to get online and use internet-
based services. Although there is no single measure that currently exists to define

digital inclusion, it is generally accepted the following factors contribute to the digital

         Access to equipment or connections - This can be considered as
          ownership of technology or having a connection at home, availability of a
          connection at convenient locations in everyday life, or having access to the
          internet anywhere, including at public access points. Examples of barriers
          which inhibit take-up include affordability, lack of time, or lack of training and

         Skills, confidence and capability to use information technologies - Unmet
          primary needs may present barriers to effective use. Literacy difficulties, for
          example, make use of the internet problematic, and some disabilities may
          present challenges – for example visual impairments or dyslexia can make it
          difficult to read text on an ordinary screen. Low confidence is relevant
          particularly for those without supportive family members or friends they are
          able to learn from.

         Attitude - including perceptions of the relevance of ICT to individuals’ lives
          and expectations of what sort of interaction is possible. People need to be
          able to understand what the internet can do, and how that can be relevant to
          their everyday lives.

         Use of technologies - What people do with technology, how much of the
          functionality they use or understand, and how confident they feel using it.
          Functional capability is arguably even more significant than functional access
          in considering levels or depths of inclusion and exclusion.4

     7. Why should landlords fund a residents’ digital
       inclusion programme?

Government policy: Digital by Default
In ‘Directgov 2010 and Beyond: Revolution not Evolution’7, Martha Lane Fox,
Britain’s Digital Champion recommended that government should make ‘digital’ its
primary method of disseminating information to the public and businesses. While the
government will have a duty to ensure that non-internet users are guaranteed access
to information through non-digital means, ‘digital’ would become the primary and
most effective method of communication and would eventually realise significant cost
savings to the government. The government's commitment to make the delivery of
public services digital by default was again highlighted in the Open Public Services
White Paper9, published in July 2011.

With more services going online, it is more important than ever that citizens can
access the internet and have the skills to participate in the new digital era. The white
paper states:

       The Government has committed to design and deliver all information and
       transactional services digitally by default. Supported by assisted digital
       services, advice and guidance should also move online as expertise develops
       to ensure that everyone can benefit from digitised service provision.
       Government engagement and communication with the public will also
       increasingly be digital by default, utilising the power of digital communication
       and social media to help drive the virtuous circle of digital take-up. (Cabinet

Getting ON; A Manifesto for Older People in a Networked Nation 1 recommends that
the Department of Work and Pensions should commit to making State Pension
applications digital by default. This might involve setting a date by which access to
the service will be available only online. In the interim period, access to face to face

and telephone support would be gradually scaled down, making switching
progressively more attractive – and/or necessary.

Similar ideas are being proposed at local level, where local authorities will make
increasing use of online delivery. As older people are key users of these services,
ensuring older residents can go online is essential in preparing them for the future
and ensuring that they can continue to access essential services.

The Get Digital programme showed that delivering a successful digital inclusion
programme for residents brings benefits to landlords, staff, schemes and residents.

    Benefits to landlords
        “Providers of social housing are on the front line, and as such provide a vital
        link between residents and a host of public services. It follows that if a
        resident has the access, skills and motivation to engage with ICT, you will be
        able to provide an inclusive range of services in a more cohesive way that
        better tackle important community issues.”

Evaluation of the Get Digital programme provided evidence to demonstrate landlord
benefits in:

    Market advantage.
In interviews with the evaluation team, landlords consistently identified market
advantage as the main benefit brought to them by participation in the Get Digital
programme. The provision of digital equipment and internet access at their schemes
was identified as a business asset and a selling point that would become
increasingly important in the future as they sought to attract potential residents from
younger cohorts for whom digital access was already a familiar and expected feature
of daily life. The following examples are typical of landlords’ comments.

        “It’s a forward thinking company with a lot of good initiatives and this has now
        become one of them. [It has] become something for the marketing

      department to focus on as it’s certainly improved the marketability of our
      properties, because with a digital generation growing up they’re going to be
      expecting digital equipment, internet access. Younger residents and potential
      applicants are already web savvy and would expect this service to be
      available…. There will undoubtedly be financial benefits. One thing an RSL
      doesn’t like is empty flats because that’s lost revenue so it’s another attractive
      proposition to keep flats occupied” (landlord).

      “We are better placed for the future. The new generation of older people
      coming in will be more used to ICT. This equipment will help to ‘sell’ the
      properties. Sheltered schemes like this find it difficult to attract younger
      clients.” (landlord)

      “It promotes the scheme and service and raises the profile which is good for
      business and generating new custom. It keeps the scheme modern for young
      older people.” (landlord)

 Cost effective communication
As landlords seek ways to reduce costs and improve efficiencies, an increasing
number are using online methods to communicate with residents. If your residents
are unable to access the internet, it is impossible to implement a successful e-
communications strategy.

Evidence from the ODPM (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister); NWEGG (North
West EGovernance Group) and SOCITM (Society of Information Technology
Managers) indicates that face to face contact is much more expensive that electronic
(web) contact, and the average cost saving of an online transaction against an offline
transaction is £2.64 (telephone) compared to £9.44 (face-to-face).

Channel                ODPM’s E-              NWEGG                   SOCITM
                       Government             (North West E-          (Society of
                       National               Government              Information
                       Programme              Group)                  Technology
Face to face                  £14.65                  £7.81               £6.56
Telephone                     £ 1.39                  £4.00                  £3.22
Web                           £ 0.25                 £ 0.17                  £ 0.27

Race Online 2012, recently worked with 15 leading housing associations, including
Affinity Sutton, Circle, Peabody, Home Group, Taff Housing, Poplar Harca and Hyde,
between them representing 1 million residents, and sector bodies to size the huge
social and economic benefits to tenants and landlords can realize should the sector
build its digital capability. Initial sample analysis identified Social Housing Providers
could save more than £340m per year using vastly more cost-effective
communications to their 9.5m residents.

Email, rather than telephone could be used by residents to make enquiries and
report any issues, making substantial savings in staff time. If an organisation uses an
online reporting system, it would be possible for your residents to complete
interactive repairs requests as well as enabling all jobs to be tracked from the time of
resident contact through to completion. Residents would also be able to report any
issues concerning major works or renewals online and complete a customer
satisfaction process that proactively seeks their views on these services.

Moving of enquiry calls to online communication channels would realise savings for
landlords, while wider efficiency savings could be made from the re-deployment of
staff to value added roles. By offering web-based services to enable residents to
review and amend their own direct debit mandates, access to their own accounts
online and make online applications to related services such as council tax and
housing benefits, would realise further savings. At the same time, it is likely that
there would also be a further reduction in staff costs, since providing tenants with
easier access to their accounts may result in fewer rent arrears.
It is clear, then, that the potential savings due to resident digital inclusion are
considerable. Two months after the completion of the Get Digital programme, 17% of
landlords indicated in evaluation interviews, that increased online residents’
communications had already demonstrated efficiency savings at their scheme.

    Resident empowerment
In 2008, the Tenant Services Authority (TSA) published “A new regulatory framework
for social housing in England” 10 which aims to improve standards of service delivery
for tenants, protect tenants from poor performance by their landlord and ensure that

      involve their tenants to deliver good services.
      have open and transparent reporting
      promote effective tenant involvement and empowerment.
      consider equality issues and the diversity of their tenants, including tenants
        with additional support needs
      provide tenants with accessible, comprehensive and timely information about
        how they can access services, the standards of housing services they can
        expect and how they are performing against those standards

A more recent 2011 consultation by the Department for Communities and Local
Government: “Implementing social housing reform: Directions to the social housing
regulator”11 established “a clear regulatory obligation on registered social landlords
to provide timely, useful performance information to tenants in order to support
effective scrutiny”. Additionally, the new Regulatory Framework for Social Housing in
England proposes the introduction of a tenant involvement and empowerment
standard which requires that:

        “Registered providers must offer tenants support so that they are more able to
        be effectively engaged, involved and empowered.”12

Through the government funded Tenant Empowerment Programme13, social
landlords are encouraged to recognise the benefits that greater resident involvement
can bring in terms of increased tenant satisfaction, and on-line resources have been
developed to support both landlords and tenants to engage with this agenda.
Technology has an important role to play in supporting the fulfilment of these
requirements. Most landlords now offer a menu of opportunities for tenant
involvement13, which allows tenants to choose activities that suit them, rather than
using the traditional resident group or panel as the only option for involvement. Many
of these options are dependent on their residents being able to access and use the
internet including through the organisation’s website, via email and web – based
discussion forums.

If residents are digitally included, providers have the ability to employ cost –
effective, online arrangements for understanding their tenants, their views and needs
and for fully involving residents in the governance and delivery of tenant services. 10

Options for resident involvement could be expanded to include the use of social
software, online videoconferencing and surveys to support service user involvement
and consultation. These options are substantially cheaper to employ than face to
face methods. They can also be more inclusive, as residents with mobility or health
issues are not excluded from participation. Increasing digital inclusion for residents
offers landlords the opportunity to use digital technology as a cost effective
opportunity to meet policy goals for tenant engagement with services locally and

      According to the Get Digital residents’ survey, 51% of residents now have
        increased communication with their landlord.
      Interviews with landlords evidenced greater empowerment for residents to use
        new approaches to making their voices heard. Participating landlords and
        scheme managers welcomed these changes and identified actual and
        anticipated benefits as a result of residents using digital technologies to
        become more involved in shaping the service they receive.

Several landlords indicated that one of their motivations for participating in the
programme was to encourage greater resident involvement. At one scheme, the
landlord stated that the programme had improved relations between the landlord and
residents by enabling it to counter the figurative ‘Big Bad Landlord’ image that some
residents were perceived as harbouring. As a consequence of these developments,
residents had become more willing to take an active role in scheme meetings and to
voice their views and offer suggestions for how things may be improved.

        “Residents are now quicker to come forward and provide information, as
        they’ve got greater access to do so. A number of our different departments
        have said that more tenants get in touch by email now” (landlord)

        ‘We feel we are responding to the needs of the residents more.’ (landlord)

Several landlords noted that their policies and procedures are available for residents
to access on line, while in one case, the landlord was able to use the opportunities
for new kinds of communication with residents to support efficiency savings. Having
recently gone through a major restructure, the landlord organisation was in the
process of abolishing the posts of both scheme manager and resident involvement
officer, so digital communications had become increasingly important, with residents
using email to send their views to the landlord about the restructure.

        “If residents want to make a complaint or report a fault, or just want to access
        information about [the organisation]. All the information is available on the
        Internet. Keeping in touch with Housing Officers etc…this is going to be more
        important than ever…whereas before a lot of it would have been done through
        scheme manager”

Examples of technology for resident participation:

      Thames Valley Housing asked its tenants about their preferred format for a
        newsletter. Those with internet access preferred to receive news online rather

        than paper copies. Customers also wanted more services online and the
        opportunity to give feedback through the Association’s website.
      Gentoo Sunderland uses podcasts created by tenants to publicise and
        showcase how residents can be involved with their landlord.
      Accord Group uses Twitter to publicise events or awards or any other news
        about the Association. It also uses Twitter to ask for opinions.
      Ashram, part of the Accord Housing Group, uses podcasts and film clips to
        highlight issues that are of importance to their tenants. It has also launched as a new national online forum to help people to engage
        with politicians, civic leaders, stakeholders and policy decision makers about
        issues that matter to them and on their terms.
      Caldmore Housing, another part of the Accord Group, has its own tenants’
        association with its own web page and facility for blogging.

    Equality and diversity
Technology has huge potential for inclusion and the Get Digital programme engaged
residents with a range of disabilities and support needs, including residents with
visual impairment, mobility issues, individuals with memory problems, people who
have had a stroke. Technology supported the diverse needs of residents in the
following ways:

    Disability
65% of schemes used the programme funding to buy adaptive technologies which
supported residents with difficulties and disabilities. Adaptive technologies ranged
from Big Keys keyboards for residents who found it hard to hit the small keys on a
standard keyboard, trackball mouse for residents with manual dexterity difficulties to
voice recognition software for residents with reading difficulties, dyslexia or visual

Residents used the internet to source their tax code, renew tax discs (foregoing
lengthy queues in the post office) and shop online. They reported that they can now

buy goods more cheaply online, and felt that online shopping would help ensure
independence in the future, should they become less mobile.

Some learners pointed out how difficult telephone conversations can be for hearing
impaired residents. A hearing impaired learner stated

        ‘My Grandson, who lives in Dorset, likes to keep in contact with me. However
        it was frustrating to speak on the phone; I kept saying pardon and I had
        difficulty anyway with his strong Dorset accent, it was very frustrating. Now my
        grandson and I email each other regularly so that’s got that problem solved.”

Another had a stroke and lost her speech, but used a computer programme supplied
by her speech therapist. This is helping her to develop her speech again. One
scheme is currently planning for a voluntary/community organisation working with
blind people to provide tutoring to blind residents.

    Ethnicity
Volunteers from a youth resident forum supported residents to practise what they
had learned and acted as translators for the Somalian residents with low level
English speaking skills. In other schemes, use of online translation tools enabled
residents to independently access service information. Many of the scheme contacts
and landlords interviewed during the evaluation planned to develop their use of
technology to promote residents’ equality.
    Strengthen schemes’ links with the community
Several landlords stated in evaluation interviews that taking part in the programme
had raised their profile and presented a positive image locally. The programme
engaged with 1098 partners across the 196 schemes.

      National partners such as UK online centres lent general support and help
        to publicise the programme via their networks – as well as offering online
        sources and links for learning, (such as MyGuide or BBC First Click &
        Webwise), and campaigns to join such as Get Online Week.

      Local partnerships reflected relationships with local organisations or
         individuals of various types including local branches of national partner
        organisation or networks.
      Regional partners were organisations or individuals who offered help to a
        number of schemes across an area e.g. student volunteering centres – in
        areas such as Southampton and Bolton - and community arts and media
        organisations – in Bristol and Shropshire/Staffordshire were important in this
        regard – as were AgeUK in the Midlands.

Many community partners provided free volunteer input but some were suppliers
(either non-profit or commercial) – for example Adapt-IT – providing equipment to
assist learners facing accessibility issues or Re-COM – providing IT technical
support and training at a reasonable cost. One scheme in Kent partnered with a local
IT contractor, who shares a background in the armed forces with the residents, gave
his support and technical expertise voluntarily to the scheme.

    Increased volunteer activity.
In the evaluation interviews, several landlords and scheme contacts that
participation in the programme has increased their volunteering base and the input
to the scheme from the local community, with many digital volunteers have now
supporting other activities taking place in schemes.

 Increased links with other organisations and agencies.
Participation increased the experience of the landlord in this field, developed links
with other agencies and provided evidence of the positive difference that technology
can make to residents’ lives. Many landlords believed that this will help in securing
further funding from both internal and external sources. Contributions were received

      Family members
      AgeUK/Age Concern

      Local Schools & Colleges
      Universities
      Duke of Edinburgh Award centres
      Connexions services
      Foyer services
      Local Authorities/Councils
      Volunteering organisations
      Local clubs centered on hobbies and interests
      Local community centres
      Local business networks
      Local organisations representing older people.
      Adult Education organisations
      Faith groups, churches, mosques, temples etc.
      Local libraries
      UK online centres
      Community, Arts and Media Centres

    Awards and recognition
The Elderly Accommodation Council (EAC) manages the National Housing for older
people awards scheme. These awards are voted for by residents of
retirement/sheltered/extra care housing. For the first time in 2011, the awards
introduced the category “Best Digital Inclusion in Retirement Housing”. Get
Digital schemes won the gold, silver and bronze awards and the category is being
continued in future years due to the high level of interest from residents and housing
providers. Essex UnITe won the National Adult Learner week award for Digital
Participation sponsored by the BBC and the UK over 50s Housing Awards Most
Innovative IT Project for over 50s in the UK. Schemes where residents are supported
in digital inclusion will be able to apply for this and other related awards, gaining
national recognition and publicity.

Schemes participating in Get Digital benefitted from favourable national and local
publicity, which raised the landlord and scheme profile. These included:

      National television, including ITV’s Daybreak programme.
      28 local press articles.
      Regional radio including features and interviews on BBC radio.
        National press, including features in Housing Technology and Housing Mark.

Benefits to the community
49% of residents stated that participating in the programme increased their contact
with young people and that investment in their skills made them feel valued.

        ‘It’s something special that people want to come and give their time to teach
        elderly people’.

Supporting residents’ digital skills was a popular intergenerational activity. One
scheme manager reported that residents enjoyed engaging with the young people
and believed their opinions of young people had improved because of this.

Young people enjoyed getting to know residents and being able to help them. They
reported that they had learned skills in communicating with older people and working
in a tutor role.

Participation in the programme also presented organisations who worked with young
people an opportunity to promote and develop their skills, knowledge and
awareness in relation to volunteering. Schools and youth groups who contributed to
the programme stated that one of the chief benefits for their organisation was the
way that working with learners fostered young people’s understanding of the value
of volunteering. The intergenerational aspect enabled young people to work
alongside others whose lives, experiences and backgrounds were different from
theirs. Young people welcomed the opportunity and gained benefits in the form of
enhanced CVs and university applications, and in credits towards both academic
qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate and extracurricular awards
such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

One school reported that acting as a partner had provided it with a valuable
opportunity to make its considerable resources and expertise available to the wider
community, which in turn contributed to the school’s Civic Action Plan. Barrie Bishop
(Sir Christopher Hatton School).

       “We are building the links in the community. It is a matter of building trust. It
       gives the young people confidence and new skills…and at the same time our
       residents can learn different ways to communicate.” Dave Willis
       (Wellingborough Homes).

Benefits to staff
The Get Digital programme brought benefits to scheme managers and organisation
staff. In spite of the extra initial workload, scheme staff involved in the programme
found it a rewarding experience, and increased their job satisfaction. Staff identified
a number of ways in which it had enabled them to develop their skills, knowledge
and understanding, and which ultimately enhanced their role and brought greater job

Improvements in communication
Almost 75% of scheme staff reported that the programme had strengthened
communications between scheme staff and residents. 51% of residents stated that
the programme increased their methods of communicating with scheme staff. This
was valued by scheme managers, some of whom were responsible for multiple sites
and consequently were absent from any one scheme for much of the time. The fact
that residents could keep in touch via technology eased some of the pressure and
anxiety of their role.

Improved scheme staff understanding of residents’ needs and interests.
The majority of scheme staff identified this as a positive benefit of participation. They
greatly appreciated improved relationships with residents and stated this was due to
the creation of new opportunities for different kinds of contact between staff and
residents and that this was because of the distinctive focus of the programme on
digital skills and working with the interests of learners.

Staff’s support for the programme fostered a heightened understanding of their
needs and interests and helped to personalise relationships. For example, the
manager of one scheme described how she had found that one learner had been a
resistance fighter in the Second World War, while another had traced his family line
back to the sixteenth century: She commented, “They became people instead of a
number on the door”.

At another scheme, the manager suggested that the programme had challenged
staffs’ perceptions about the capabilities and potential of older people. She stated:

       ‘This was a valuable activity, getting staff to see these people are progressing
       and enjoying learning. … These aren’t just older people who are waiting to go;
       they are waiting to take on new things. (scheme manager)

Increased staff skills.
Get Digital was not a staff focussed digital skills programme, yet 57% of scheme
contacts reported that their confidence in ICT has increased through their
involvement in the programme, with specific increases in the level of staff confidence
in accessing government services online, participating in online meetings/
conferences and accessing residents’ documents. The programme provided
managers and staff with an opportunity to learn and develop their own skills. In an
evaluation interview, the manager at one scheme said that taking part in the initial
training meeting and conferences widened her horizons and motivated her greatly.

At another scheme, staff learned computer administration skills and gained in
confidence in using these, which improved their job satisfaction.

Communication with other staff.
In the scheme contact survey, 45% of staff reported that participation increased
communication between scheme staff and other schemes, which they found
beneficial, motivating and supportive.

Improved communication with landlords.
41% of staff stated as part of the scheme contact survey that taking part in the
scheme had increased their own contact with the landlord. This was viewed as
extremely positive, and was viewed by some staff as being due to their own access
to technology and some stating that the programme had acted as a catalyst for
improved communication.

Reduced workload
Despite the time spent by staff in supporting the set up of the programme in their
schemes, in the evaluation interviews, many staff appreciate that some residents are
now less dependent on them. Residents’ digital skills have reduced the need to rely
on scheme staff to report and follow up on issues. Having access to computers
meant that residents could email the landlord about facility problems that needed to
be rectified, and could include photos of damages. This reduced the need to rely on
scheme staff to report and follow up on issues.

Developing role
Participation provided many scheme managers with a new role, with many
coordinating the programme and engaging community partners. As a result, many
scheme managers stated that they had widened their horizons and increased their

Benefits to residents

Changes in attitudes
By the end of the Get Digital programme, almost 60% of residents were using email
or searching for information on the web at least once a week. 16

Evaluation also showed:

      The proportion of residents who rated themselves confident to use email rose
        by 47% to 73% by the end of the training.
      The proportion of residents who are confident in searching and finding
        information rose by 48% to 68%.
      83% stated that their attitude towards computers and the internet was more
      Negative views about the internet decreased with a drop of 13% in those who
        stated that the internet was frustrating to use.
      88% of residents stated they were likely to use a computer again, and that
        they would be using the internet: for email; to make phone calls over the
        internet ; to search for information; to access public services; to access
        government websites; to use social networking sites.
      At the end of the programme, over half of the residents wanted to learn more
        about computers and the internet.

Typical comments from residents included:

        ‘I was scared stiff when I first started, in case I pressed the wrong button but
        the more you use it, the more confidence you get.’(resident)

        ‘I didn’t understand them before, but now think they are marvellous.’ (resident)

Several residents described how computers had made tasks that they already
carried out easier – such as contacting family and friends, pursuing hobbies and

finding information – and they had integrated use of the technology into their daily

Social benefits.
Learning how to go online has enhanced learners’ family and wider social
relationships and contributed to an increased sense of belonging. Evidence reflects
findings from previous research about the social benefits for older people of using
technology which suggests that technology can help to develop social contacts and
increase social participation17 and help older people keep in touch with their

      50% of learners stated it was now easier to keep in touch with people
      42% stated it was easier to meet new people
      42% stated they had more contact with family and friends
      The proportion of residents who wrote or emailed their family once or twice a
        week more than doubled from 10% to 22%.

Email did not displace face to face communication, but added a new dimension to
residents’ ability to keep in touch. Learning to use other forms of digital
communication, particularly Skype, emerged as being particularly valued by learners
with families living at a distance, and evidence indicated that residents used the
internet and email to connect or reconnect with friends living elsewhere. Some
learners described using internet features such as Google Earth to ‘visit’ family

83% of scheme managers reported that tools which enable residents to reduce their
isolation most pleased their residents, with Skype a clear favourite.

        “Residents have reported the ability to keep in touch with family and friends by
        using the internet to be the most valuable tool- enabling them to feel
        completely connected with "the outside world". Residents can now use

        emails, Skype and social networking sites to keep in touch”. – Scheme

The programme also contributed to improved relationships between residents within
sheltered housing schemes, and in some cases between residents and members of
the wider local community, and interviews with tutors identified the social aspect of
the programme as a key feature of its success.

      92% of scheme contacts stated that they believed social interaction between
        residents had improved as a result of the programme.
      Landlord interviews at a number of schemes stated that Get Digital had
        increased the social interaction between residents and helped to build a
        stronger sense of community within the scheme.
      The representative of a landlord with multiple schemes participating in Get
        Digital argued that the programme had helped to change the dynamics
        between residents:
      ‘Some learners spoke positively about how the programme got them ‘out of
        the house’ and provided an opportunity to mix with and meet other people.
      Scheme staff reported that the programme brought residents together and
        networks of peer support evolved within many schemes outside the formal
        training sessions.

At one scheme, a small group of resident now meet weekly to continue learning
together. One of the group’s members said, ‘it’s the community thing, brings us
together’. In another case, learners described how they support each other’s

        We share the information. What one picks up, passes on. They call us
        mentors but I think the whole group mentors each other in a way’ (resident)

Attitudes to learning
The programme clearly demonstrated a difference between activities to learn digital
skills and other activities such as parties and outings. Digital inclusion activities

involved residents in an inclusive way. The manager at one scheme which has an
ethnically diverse mix of residents stated that it was often difficult to find activities
which were of interest to everyone. However, the programme attracted residents
from a range of backgrounds, including those whose first language was not English.
Many schemes used the funding to buy accessibility software so that residents with
disabilities could fully participate.

Learning to use the technology was a starting point to enable residents to pursue
their interests. Residents gave numerous examples of how their use of technology
related to their own personal stories. Whether computers were being used to
communicate via Skype with relatives overseas, research local history, plan a trip,
compare car insurance prices, explore the night sky, email friends or follow a football
team, the common theme was that for most learners the technology was the means
for further learning and not the end in itself.

At the end of the learning programme, 75% of residents stated that they had greater
confidence in their ability to learn.

       ‘‘The thing that surprised me most was that I could do it.’ ‘You don’t expect to
       be learning at this age… you’re never too old to learn’

As older people without digital skills, many residents had felt excluded and ‘left
behind.’ They referred repeatedly to the benefit of being able to understand what
people are talking about, of no longer feeling like they are ‘on a different planet,’ and
to how surprised and impressed their families had been when they showed off their
new skills.

Consumer empowerment
Evidence from resident focus groups demonstrated that residents used the internet
to become more informed consumers and exercise greater choice in their purchasing
decisions. Residents were particularly attracted by cost savings that resulted from
comparing prices and finding cheaper goods online. Some had saved money by
finding cheaper options on services such as car insurance and electricity supply.

One resident identified fraudulent activity as a result of accessing his bank account
online, while several identified the potential for maintaining independence that
accessing goods and services in this way offered to older people experiencing
reduced mobility.

Service user empowerment
As already mentioned, there is a drive to create 'digital by default' services by
increasing the provision of public services online, and creating a single website
through which all government services will be accessed.

As a result of participating in the programme, more residents used the web to access
public services, so allowing them to easy access public services in the future.

      The proportion of residents who did so rose from a 33% at the start of the
        programme to 39% after the training and 45% two months later – a difference
        of 11%
      32% of residents stated that they were more aware of public services
      10% stated that they now use public services more often

Evidence from residents’ focus groups and the survey of scheme contacts showed
that participation in the programme also contributed to resident empowerment by
giving them a greater voice specifically in relation to their housing services.

      Almost 75% of scheme contacts reported that communications between
        scheme staff and residents had improved.
      50% of scheme contacts reported that communications were better between
        residents and landlords.

In some cases, this communication involved residents providing feedback on
services and seeking to influence provision. At one scheme, the landlord was keen
that residents use the computers to contact the landlord directly about any problems
with the facilities, such as broken equipment needing to be repaired. In addition,
those who had digital cameras were beginning to email photos of the problems to the

landlords as evidence. At another scheme, one of the residents was using the
computers to help carry out her role as a ‘residents’ rep’. At several schemes, it was
reported that residents were able to keep in touch with the scheme manager via
email and text messaging, which meant issues could be addressed more quickly and
helped to manage the fact that scheme managers were responsible for several
schemes and could only visit once a week.

This suggests that there is considerable scope to expand access to landlord services
online. Although the programme did not specifically focus on equipping learners to
access landlord services or to use digital technology as a mechanism to exercise
‘voice and choice’, many learners explored this opportunity, with a resulting increase
in their use of services and their level of control.

Better health management
Demographic ageing means that more people are living with chronic health
conditions, declining health and greater levels of dependency on the public health
and social care system. The focus of public health policy has increasingly been on
encouraging people of all ages to take greater responsibility for the management of
their own health and to adopt behaviour that is likely to foster good health. For older
people, this agenda includes the aim of enabling people to retain their independence
and avoid or delay the need to access residential care. The National Health Service
is expanding the role of the internet to complement face to face services and
communicate information and advice on healthy living to the public, as reflected in
websites such as NHS Choices. Online tools and resources to support individual
health management are also available through a range of third sector organisations
such as Age UK and Expert Patient. Participating residents have begun to access
information that helped them in this way.

At the end of the training and two months later, almost 20% of residents stated that
they look after themselves better and know more about their health as a result of the

Wellbeing and life satisfaction
Findings suggest a number of specific ways in which participation in the programme
may have contributed to promote a sense of wellbeing and life satisfaction among
learners: acquisition of new skills; greater confidence in their ability to learn new
things; better social relationships and; a sense of belonging; enhanced
empowerment in relation to use of goods and services; and better health

For many learners, the programme has given them a greater degree of autonomy
and control over certain aspects of their lives.

Other benefits to residents
Enabling residents to form links with their communities, assist with their own social
activities, and to develop more independence were seen as very beneficial by all
scheme contacts surveyed following the ‘Get Digital’ evaluation.20 According to
scheme contacts, residents were particularly pleased by:

      Completing forms online
      Achieving certification
      Using social networking tools
      Making new friendships
      Feeling part of the wider world
      Using a Wii and Wii fit
      Using digital photography
      Using online shopping and banking
      Using Skype
      Accessing online resources
      Overcoming fears, developing confidence
      Learning new skills
      Using technology to communicate with family and friends

     8. Programme models
The Get Digital programme demonstrated that access to equipment alone is unlikely
to be enough to foster digital inclusion, as:
      Over 50% of participating schemes already provided internet access for
        residents via communal computers
      46% of participating schemes already provided internet access in residents’
      Only 4% of participating schemes had no internet access for use by either
        residents or staff.

This confirms that access alone will not support digital inclusion for older people.
Attitudes, skills, confidence and behaviour all play a part in determining the extent to
which people can use the available technology to enhance their daily lives. Although
there are many different models which can be used for digital inclusion of older
people in sheltered accommodation, analysis of Get Digital and Essex Unite
programmes identify common factors which are critical to success.

These can be summarised as:
        a)     Access to appropriate hardware and connectivity
        b)     Ensuring that all residents can participate in the programme
        c)     Support from scheme staff
        d)     Support from landlords
        e)     Resident engagement and inspiration
        f)     Effective resident training
        g)     Support for residents
        h)     Residents’ ownership of the programme
        i)     Planning a sustainable programme

The Get Digital model

Session and attendance                      Aims
Be prepared. ½ day. Attended by:
scheme staff                                Initial discussion to identify initial actions
Scheme tutor
Community partners

Get Set Up. ½ day. Attended by:
                                                   Review actions and progress
Scheme Tutor                                       Agree community partner roles
Stakeholders / Community Partners                  Check equipment and configure
Resident representatives
                                                   Health and safety check
Scheme staff

Get Enthused. ½ day. Attended by:
                                                   Get Enthused session for residents;
Scheme staff
                                                   Sign up learners for Get Learning
Community partners

Get Learning. 7 days (weekly). Attended
                                            Learning programme for residents
Scheme Tutor

                                                Session 1
                                                   Agree tasks to produce Final Action
Planning the Future. 2 x ½ days. Attended       Session 2
by:                                              Review and agree Final Action Plan
Scheme Tutor                                     Agree 12 month engagement plan
Scheme staff                                       with community partners
Stakeholders / Community Partners                Plans for future presented to
                                                 Award Certificates of Achievement
                                                   Agree content of expert supervision

                                            Choose from:
Expert Supervision. 9 x ½ days. Attended        Scheme staff training
                                                Resident and community partner
Scheme Tutor                                      Mentor training)
Scheme staff                                    Coordination of community partners
Stakeholders                                    Specialist resident workshops (e.g.
 Community Partners                               Photos, Family History)
Learners                                        Actions for future learner support /
                                                  computer clubs.

     9. Programme options
There is no ‘one size fits all’ as consideration has to be given to differences in costs
and charges from different suppliers, infrastructure limitations and the views and
wishes of the residents themselves. Get Digital schemes received funding ranging
from £3,000 to £5,000, which they elected to spend on hardware, software, volunteer
expenses, accessibility equipment, broadband costs, staff time for programme set up
and extra resident training.

89% of scheme contacts agreed that the level of funding was just right to get set up
with the equipment they needed and many added that with ‘offers available at the
time and some clever budgeting’, they were able to purchase extras such as office
consumables, broadband costs, and additional training.

Where costs are indicated, these have been obtained by averaging costs incurred in
the Get Digital programme as supplied by participating schemes, or from costs
incurred by schemes participating in the Essex Unite projects.

Costs quoted are indicative and actual costs can easily be much lower. For example,
there are many free and low cost IT equipment and support options for charities.
Some of these have been collated by Race Online at

There are also cost savings to be made by reducing technical specifications,
economies of scale, use of recycled / second hand equipment, the size of scheme
and the needs of specific residents.


Access option 1: Wired/WIFI installed in residents’ rooms.
        Indicative costs: £1000 per wireless access point (Note: Costs derived
         from average of Get Digital and Essex UnITe projects)

Advantages:                               Disadvantages:
 accessibility tailored to individual     cost of installation into existing building
   needs                                   Possible WIFI signal strength issues if
 privacy of use                             cabling not an option
 security for online transactions         affordability for residents/RSLs
 always available for the resident’s      not fully inclusive if residents have to buy
   use                                       their own equipment
 ownership - more likely to use it        no opportunity to reduce isolation
                                           no peer support/training opportunities
                                           limited availability of technical support

Access option 2: Using residents’ laptop at WIFI hotspots via scheme’s facility
(e.g. in residents’ lounge). Indicative costs: £1,000 per access point including
connections. Note: Costs derived from average of Get Digital and Essex UnITe

Advantages:                              Disadvantages:
   low cost of connection                purchase costs mean not fully inclusive
   low/no infrastructure costs             for all residents
   reduced risk of isolation             residents would need to move laptop to
   opportunities for peer support          WIFI hotspot location – risk to resident
                                            and to security of equipment
                                          communal space might not always be
                                          reduced privacy/data security
                                          variable WIFI signal strength
                                          responsibility for IT support/repairs issues
                                            complicated if it goes wrong

Access option 3: Computers installed in a communal facility for residents’ use.
Indicative costs: £4,000 for 2 computers, furniture, IT support and
connections. Note: Costs derived from average of Get Digital and Essex UnITe
Advantages:                             Disadvantages:
 cost-effective – multiple users        residents must have sufficient mobility to
   from one set of equipment               access communal facility
 opportunities to be sociable, and      availability - shared resource which might
   gain peer support                       need a booking system
 reduced risk of isolation              reduced privacy/data security risks
 opportunities for group activities
   and volunteer opportunities
 IT support/repairs covered by one
   service charge
 available to all
 communal training

See Appendix 3 for cost details

Access option 4: Off-site arrangements e.g. local library or Age UK centre.
Indicative costs: £150 per half day session. Note: Costs derived from average of
Get Digital and Essex UnITe projects.

Advantages:                              Disadvantages:
   inexpensive                              restricted access
   no investment                            mobility/transport issues for older
   no space issues                            residents
   no IT support requirements               reliance on facility being provided
   possibility of support/training            by government/other funding
  from centre staff                          no weekend or evening access
                                             reduced opportunities for IT-
                                               related communal activities/peer
                                             reduced privacy/data security

These costs are dependent on how the organisation works out its cost recovery for
staff. They are also dependent on whether the organisation has access to
community transport which residents can use at reduced rates or whether the
organisation has its own mini bus. In budgetary terms you should allow £150 per half
day session. Staff must cost at least £75 with overheads plus £75 for hire of a
wheelchair access minibus.

Equality of access
The Get Digital programme ensured that all residents could participate in the
programme through purchase of accessible technology, guidance from the “access
for all” section in the Get Digital toolkits and advice from tutors during “Be prepared”
and “Get Set up” sessions.

Disability need not be a barrier to learning new skills. Through a mix of physical
access and use of inclusive technology the learning opportunity can be available to
all. The importance and potential of technology to support equality was recognised
by schemes participating in Get Digital, and approximately 470 pieces of accessibility
equipment or software purchased with the grant funding.

As stated in the evaluation report “Involving learners at the initial planning stage and
throughout the project helped schemes to make decisions about purchasing
equipment – including identifying where equipment was required to support
accessibility for learners with visual impairments, motor difficulties or other specific

See Appendix 4: Basic costs for equality of access

Support from scheme staff
According to tutors, a key success factor of the Get Digital programme was the
willingness and ability of scheme staff to support the activities and the residents.

       “The scheme manager is fully committed to the programme, despite lack of
       time, and this is very important.”

       “High level of commitment by scheme staff played a part in ensuring some of
       the anxious residents become involved.”

Scheme staff were engaged in the programme by planning the programme with them
and offering support through “Be prepared”, “Get Set Up” and “Expert Supervision”

sessions and throughout the whole programme.

      94% of staff were satisfied with the Be Prepared sessions
      94% of staff were satisfied with the Get Set Up sessions
      89% of staff were satisfied with the Expert sessions

Tasks completed by staff varied considerably between schemes and landlords and
depended greatly on the capacity and willingness of staff to be involved and to
support their residents.

Support given by scheme staff included:
      Sourcing and purchasing equipment
      Planning, meetings and tutor liaison
      Liaison with residents
      Developing training timetables
      Coordination of technical support
      Direct technical support (including equipment installation and equipment
      Attendance at resident learning sessions
      Project promotion and recruitment
      Planning for special events (e.g. ITea and Biscuits, celebration events)
      Press and media involvement
      Reinforcement of resident learning.
      Arrangement of training facilities
      Organising transport for residents / volunteers
      Community partnership arrangements
      Health and Safety arrangements
      Organising and overseeing volunteers

The most common tasks carried out by scheme staff included resident liaison and
support, recruitment and promotion and supporting residents’ learning; reinforcing
the view that the involvement of scheme staff was crucial to the success of the
programme. Scheme contact questionnaires, evaluation interviews and evidence

from the Essex Unite project shows that scheme staff are crucial to the success of a
programme and should be fully included in planning & sustaining the programme.

Support from landlords
The Get Digital programme ensured programme support from landlords through
direct contact and through the landlord section of Get Digital toolkits. Feedback from
tutors stated that the enthusiasm shown by scheme and landlord staff encouraged
residents to take part in the programme.

       “The scheme manager was very enthusiastic as was the landlord which really
       made things blossom. The enthusiasm then spread to several other schemes
       which weren't part of Get Digital which meant more of their residents were

There were three ways in particular that the landlord influenced the success of the
Get Digital programme in their schemes:

Supporting and encouraging resident involvement in the programme through
the landlord’s tenant involvement framework. For example, one landlord placed
oversight of Get Digital with its Care and Support Forum for older people.

Making additional resources available. For example, providing advice and
technical support to Get Digital staff and learners. This included a range of roles
from offering expert guidance on equipment purchases to undertaking ‘helpdesk’
tasks. In one instance, the landlord organisation already employed a dedicated IT
tutor who took the lead on implementing the project.

Active support for scheme staff. By working collaboratively with scheme staff,
helping to ease the burden of additional work that Get Digital represented for some

Further detail can be found in Appendix 6

Resident engagement
There are various means to ensure that residents are engaged in the programme;
however success is dependent on residents being aware of how the internet can
benefit them individually and build on their interests.

Option 1: “Get Enthused sessions”. Indicative costs: ½ day professional tutor
£75 - £150 for one event plus refreshment costs. Note: Times derived from
average of Get Digital projects

The Get Digital programme ensured residents were engaged with the programme
through the delivery of the “Get Enthused” sessions, with 93% of schemes satisfied
with the session as a way of engaging and inspiring residents. Get Digital promoted
benefits to residents through “Get Enthused” sessions. These were marketed and
coordinated by scheme staff and landlords, were delivered by Digital Unite tutors and
promoted the benefits of Digital inclusion to residents. Get Enthused sessions were
open to all residents and focussed on the potential benefits of digital inclusion.

Before the session, many residents expressed a lack of interest in using a computer,
stating they ‘wouldn’t know what to use it for’, or feel that ‘computers are for the
young’. Many also worried that the cost would be prohibitive or that they might break
it or press the wrong buttons.

“Get Enthused” sessions allayed many of these fears and inspired residents to
participate by focussing on using technology to:

      Maintain and renew contact with family and friends.
      Discovering common ground with younger family members.
      Creating opportunities to learn and obtain new skills.
      Networking with other residents.
      Accessing services, banking and shopping online.
      Accessing information for improved health and well-being. .
      Increasing consumer choice through for example online money-saving offers.

      Reducing inequality by having access to the same information and
        opportunities as younger people.
      Engaging with the local community.
      Participating in local initiatives.
      Improving communication with the landlord.

The scheme contact survey indicated that after the session:
      There was a demonstrable desire among residents to address their digital
      Residents were attracted to the programme because if the benefits they
        anticipated it would bring.

Residents’ motivations16 for involvement included:
      Easier and better communications with family and friends. 70% of residents
        stated that better communication was a primary reason for their interest in
        digital training.
      Developing ICT skills for their own sake. 63% of residents stated that they
        were motivated, to learn digital skills and to gain confidence and
        independence in using technology and wanted to be sufficiently confident to
        use computers and the internet safely.
      Helping to pursue hobbies and interests. 53% of residents stated that using
        the internet to access informal learning was a prime motivator e.g. pursuing
        an interest in ancestry and family history or arts and crafts, or improving
        spelling and writing.
      Finding out about public services. Approximately 75% believed that having
        digital skills would allow them to independently find information on their local
        community, including practical information such as phone numbers and the
        opening times and entrance fees for local services and information on local
      Saving money. For 30% of the residents, improving choice in consumption
        was a prime motivator for their involvement, by allowing them to compare the
        prices of goods and services, shopping and booking travel and holidays

      Some learners expressed the view that digital exclusion made them in some
        sense socially marginalised. Keeping up-to-date with technology and with the
        younger generation was a motivating force for some who reported feeling
        “thick” and “stupid” in comparison with young children who were apparently
        adept users of technology, with some feeling excluded, and left behind or out
        of control because of the move to deliver services online.

Option 2: Promotion by scheme managers. Indicative costs: 2 hours staff time.
Note: Costs derived from average of Get Digital and Essex UnITe projects

In some schemes, managers supported resident engagement by holding informal
events which promoted the benefits of the internet. Methods included a family history
coffee morning, where a resident’s family visited the scheme to talk about their
online genealogical research, and a reminiscence project on recipes and cooking,
with the computers being used to carry out research and present the recipes. When
Sandalwood Gardens in Merseyside considered how to support residents’ digital
inclusion, the scheme manager arranged a coffee morning to find out what the
residents wanted from technology. Residents were consulted about their equipment
needs, what they would like to learn and the possibility of involving the wider

Option 3: Digital ambassadors
Some digital inclusion programmes have used “digital ambassadors” to promote the
benefits of digital inclusion to their peers. For example, a project in Genesis Housing
Group appointed resident volunteers as ‘Golden Ambassadors’

Indicative costs: 1 hour per month staff support time. Note: Support time derived
from Essex UnITe project.

Some Get Digital scheme programmes were inspired by resident groups. For
example, the residents association of Tudor Rose Court in London recognised the
benefits of being online and initiated a digital inclusion programme in their scheme.

Indicative costs: none, although landlords may wish to consider management
support for resident groups.

Resident training
The Get Digital programme delivered digital skills training through the “Get Learning”
and further training sessions and showed that effective resident training is central to
a successful and sustainable digital inclusion programme. The Get Digital model
used professional tutors. Evaluation identified that to be effective, tutors should
possess clarity and patience when working with older people and be able to adjust
the pace of teaching to suit individual needs.

Evaluation also underlined the importance of ensuring that those involved in teaching
digital skills to older learners have an understanding of the learning needs of this
particular group and can adapt the learning delivery to suit their needs. Evaluation
also stressed the importance of tailoring initial learning to their needs and interests of
the residents.

        “One Get Digital resident had previously attended an ICT college course, but
        did not learn very much. When commencing his internet training, I asked him
        what his interests were and soon he was searching for information on his war-
        time regiment. I showed him how to copy pictures from the internet and he
        now has pictures of his comrades, barracks in Germany and has e-mailed one
        of his sergeants.”

At one Get Digital scheme, the tutor described how he began each session with an
overview of what they had covered the previous week, to determine whether they
needed to go over it again or could move on to the next topic. At another, the tutor
did not cover everything that was planned with all learners, but instead adjusted the
programme depending on what they wanted to learn.

Many schemes identified the tutor as a ‘key success factor’.
      96% of scheme contacts stated that the Get learning programme met the
        needs of the residents.

      88% of residents were satisfied with the core training.
      89% of residents stated that the tutor understood their needs.
      94% of residents were satisfied with the further training offered in the expert

The Get Digital programme offered core training to residents’ over 7 weeks, with
optional sessions beyond the core programme, and covered:
      Session 1: Getting started: Start and shut down, using the mouse, working
        with windows, using the keyboard.
      Session 2: Keeping in touch: Email, more about email, attachments, Skype
      Session 3: Surfing the web: What is a browser, internet favourites, searching
        the web, more about google.
      Session 4: Safety when online: Stay safe online, choose a good password,
        be safe using email, safe shopping, safe social networking.
      Session 5: Word Processing: The word window, starting a document, moving
        around a document, selecting text, changing text layout, changing text shape,
        copy and paste, spell check, printing, more tools.
      Session 6: Greeting Cards: Greeting cards choose a card, personalising,
        formatting text, using photos, printing, saving.
      Session 7: Digital photos: Download digital photos, view digital photos, print
        digital photos.

Each training session lasted 1 hour and was delivered by a professional tutor from
Digital Unite, working with 2 residents. All learner resources are included in the “Get
Learning” section of the Get Digital toolkits.

Indicative costs for professional tutors: £150 - £300 per day. Note: Costs derived
from average of Get Digital and social enterprise trainer costs.

Indicative cost for professional delivery of Get Digital style core training
programme: £1,050 - £2,100. Note: Costs derived from average of Get Digital and
social enterprise trainer costs.

Support for residents
The Get Digital programme ensured that residents were supported outside the
“formal” learning sessions by the encouragement of peer mentors, champions and
community volunteers. At the end of the formal training programme, many residents
will require further support and development of their digital skills. There are various
ways to provide this support.

In addition to the formal training previously described, a regular informal drop
in session is an effective way of reinforcing newly learned skills. Many Get Digital
schemes formed partnerships with external agencies and recruited volunteers from a
wide range of organisations, which helped support and develop resident skills in the
longer term.

Organisations which offered resident support included:
      Community Learning Champions
      Community organisations, e.g. Women’s Institute, Citizens’ Advice
      Community Voices Digital Mentors
      Libraries
      Local Authorities
      Local businesses, e.g. through volunteering arrangements, gifting of
      Primary care Trust
      Schools/colleges
      Social care services
      UK online
      Voluntary organisations, e.g. Age UK

In the Essex UnITe project, (see appendix 9), a mix of trained tutors and volunteers
from the community continued a programme of regular sessions after the initial
formal learning was complete. Residents benefitted from mediated access where a
tutor or volunteer assisted them in using the internet to find specific information. This
overcame fears of ‘going it alone’ once the formal sessions were finished. This
continued offering is cost effective but not cost free. Although this may appear to

provide a free option, schemes should consider the cost for the management and
administration of a volunteer programme. An effective volunteer programme requires
recruitment and checking of volunteers, training to ensure quality of learning delivery
and on-going management and administration of the programme. In the case study,
sixty volunteers delivered the equivalent training of 2 full-time training staff based on
1 hour of volunteering per week.

Indicative costs: Note: Support time derived from Essex UnITe project Appendix 9).

      Part time Volunteer Co-ordinator recruiting, checking and managing 60
        volunteers per year - approximately £15,000 p.a. including employment costs.
      Enhanced CRB checks - £60 per volunteer
      Volunteer expenses (e.g. transport costs) approximately £4 per week per
        volunteering session.

Champions volunteering
         Race Online 2012 can promote national opportunities in the digital
           champions newsletter and at
         Local opportunities should go on the Do It database. Upload via volunteer
           bureau and it’s free.
         This page on Do It explains how to get volunteers -
         Opportunities registered with a volunteer bureau will appear on Do It for
         An organisation recruiting their own champions with the JavaScript widget
           get their own database of champions to contact for support.

Further training by professional tutor. Indicative costs for professional tutors:
£150 - £300 per day. Note: Costs derived from Get Digital and social enterprise
trainer costs.

Some Get Digital schemes requested further resident training at the end of the core
programme as part of the “Expert Supervision” programme. Each session was
delivered in one half day session. The most popular subjects were:

      More on Skype
      Online Shopping
      Email
      Photography
      Information
      Family history
      Downloading music
      Research into illnesses
      BBC news / You tube / I Player

Peer support. Indicative cost: None
One of the most powerful dimensions of the peer learning mentor or champion role is
that, from the learner’s perspective, the mentor is ‘someone like me.’ The mentor is
also an older person who has overcome their fear of computers and acts as a role
model and symbol of successful engagement. Peer learning champions and mentors
had a key part to play in the Get Digital and Essex Unite digital inclusion
programmes, and can provide a useful resource to offer further support to other

At several Get Digital case study sites, peer support emerged as an important factor
in fostering learners’ motivation and commitment between learning sessions. For
example, at one scheme the tutor reported that one learner, although a complete
beginner showed a strong willingness to help others. In another case, a resident
with some previous experience of computers met up regularly with other learners to
offer help and support.

In a number of case studies, the important contribution of learners who acted as
‘champions’ for digital inclusion , actively promoted the learning opportunity to their
fellow residents, and provided practical help and support to build the confidence and

skills of others. The input of these individuals helped to address the need of some
learners for more one-to-one support, and encouraged other residents to practise.

To be fully effective, peer learning champions need to operate within some kind of
framework of support and development. Initiatives such as Community Learning
Champions, Union Learning Reps, Age UK Digital Mentors and UK online
Community Capacity Builders each provides an infrastructure to ensure that the
champions themselves can develop the skills and knowledge to work alongside
others in a supportive and effective way. Landlords who are considering how to
promote peer mentoring in their schemes should offer encouragement and support
to residents to adopt these roles and highlight ways for mentors to link with existing
mentoring programmes.

Residents’ ownership of the programme
Final reports from scheme contacts show that resident ownership of the programme
is crucial to its long term success. This was promoted in the Get Digital programme
through involving residents in the planning and decision-making processes.

      Nearly two thirds of schemes reported that decisions about how to spend the
        grant were reached collectively by schemes, residents, staff and managers.
      A further 20 per cent reported that the schemes listened to their residents’

Evaluation showed that involving learners in shaping the content of the learning
programme was critical to its success and to its long term sustainability. At almost
all schemes, it appears that the needs and interests of residents drove the design of
the learning programme.

      Scheme contacts stated that nearly half of all learning programmes were
        designed to meet residents’ expressed interests.
      A further 44% of learning programmes were designed around their expressed

Other options
The Essex UnITe project used a variety of methods to ensure resident ownership of
their digital inclusion programmes. These included the following:

Resident committees       Allocation of space should be with the consent of all parties
                          that use the communal spaces

Choice and ownership      Involving residents in the location, style and minor
                          maintenance issues like changing toners all contributes to
                          long term sustainability. Equipment belonging to the
                          residents rather than being sent down from head office will
                          be better cared for and respected.

Digital Ambassadors       A key element of ownership at local level is to have a
                          resident champion, someone to encourage and support
                          those just starting out.

Computer Clubs            Peer group support builds new friendships and helps
                          overcome the fear of making mistakes.

Computer Caretakers       Computer-savvy volunteers from within the residents or
                          from the local community can provide cost-effective IT
                          support for the majority of issues

     10.       Planning a sustainable programme
The Get Digital programme supported schemes to develop a sustainable plan
through “Planning the future” sessions, “Expert Sessions”, the “planning the future”
section of the Get Digital toolkits and a series of sustainability workshops.

      89% of staff were satisfied with the planning the future sessions
      79% of scheme contacts stated the expert sessions helped to sustain the

When planning for the sustainability of digital activities in your schemes, analysis of
the Get Digital programme shows that you should consider the following:

      Additional resident training
      Future costs of IT equipment, including maintenance, software upgrades, and
        consumables, insurance.
      Support from community partners

Sustainability through partnership
Get Digital schemes received support to plan ongoing support from partner
organisations, contributing to the sustainability of the programme. Most schemes
chose a mixed support model, with support received from various sources.

      82% will receive future support from scheme staff
      39% of schemes expect to support from the central landlord staff
      51% have planned support from peer mentors.
      50% expect to receive ongoing support from schools or colleges
      34% will be given continued support from voluntary organisations
      30% anticipate receiving further support from a Digital Unite tutor.

Organisations or individuals which will provide ongoing support to
participating schemes include:

      Community Learning Champions
      Community organisations, e.g. Women’s Institute, Citizens’ Advice
      Voluntary organisations, e.g. Age UK
      Community Voices Digital Mentors
      Libraries
      Local Authorities
      Local businesses
      Schools/colleges
      Scheme staff
      Peer mentors
      UK online
      Digital Unite tutors
      Central landlord staff

Organisation planning
Involvement in the programme has highlighted to landlords the value of providing
equipment and digital literacy programmes, and as a result, many have developed
new policies and procedures. There is strong commitment from landlord
organisations to provide resources to sustain digital literacy programmes in their
schemes. Many have also committed to initiate programmes beyond the schemes
which had received Get Digital funding. Landlords stated that participation in the
programme had confirmed the value of digital literacy for older people and
strengthened their organisation’s commitment to promoting digital inclusion.

In one scheme, ICT access and digital literacy programmes have been included in
the annual budget, with specific commitments and targets identified in their 2011-13
Community Strategy Action Plan. Funding to continue the work has been secured
through bids to the landlord’s internal Efficiencies Fund.

Another landlord has allocated funding from the community development budget to
extend digital inclusion programmes to other schemes.

Other landlords aim to develop their Get Digital schemes as local IT hubs,
embedding the scheme at the centre of the local community and offering an ongoing
source of revenue.

Many landlords recognised the importance of technical support to the long term
sustainability of the programme. Some landlords plan to provide technical support
via their central IT department. In one case, the scheme’s communal computers
have been networked to the landlord organisation’s server, offering a secure and
sustainable way of providing longer term technical support. Some have embedded
technical support for resident machines into their business plans, and have created a
formal service level agreement with their IT department.

In the longer term, some landlords are considering covering the costs of maintaining
digital infrastructure via residents’ service charge. However they recognised that this
would not be without its challenges, as not all residents would necessarily want to

use the facilities. Resolving it would require negotiation and resident involvement, as
had been employed to resolve similar issues around the supply and funding of
communal kitchens and charging points for electric scooters.

Landlords recognise that expenditure does not only include costs for installation and
starting up but also for subsequent years. Ongoing expenditure will mainly be
running costs but there may be some ongoing training needs, technical support and
ultimately equipment replacement.

Financial sustainability. Indicative costs: £1,000 per scheme to sustain digital
inclusion in Get Digital schemes. £25,000 to bring twelve schemes online for
the first time. Note: Costs from interviews with Get Digital landlords.

The Get Digital scheme contact survey identified how schemes anticipate they will
continue to fund the programme.

      61% will use contributions from residents to fund future plans.
      51% will fund raise.
      39% will use their landlord operating budget.
      42% will apply for other grant funding.
      6% will use funding from their local authority.
      1% will use Primary Care Trust funding.
      10% will use membership fees for the computer club or their health and
        wellbeing budget.

It is worth noting that as well as predicting likely expenditure, landlords need to look
at income - real and that accrued over time through savings and extrapolated
benefits. Possible sources of income might include the following:

      Increased service charges for residents.
      Residents’ pay as you go internet access.
      Landlord funding through community development/resident involvement

      Fundraising activities
      Community hub revenue, which could include extending access to the wider
        community through schools, families and other older people or other service
      External funding, such as The Big Lottery, Heritage Lottery and Access for All;
        local and national trusts, foundations and charities.

     11.       The cost of a resident digital inclusion
Detailed costs for hardware, software and connectivity options can be found above
and in the case studies, Appendices 7 – 11.

Support and training. These costs are indicative and based on the delivery of a Get
Digital style programme. Note: Only professional support costs are included here.
Costs calculated from the delivery of the Get Digital programme and average of Get
Digital and social enterprise tutor costs.

Support                                 Indicative costs for professional support

Be prepared                                                £75 - £150

Get Set Up
                                                           £75 - £150

Get Enthused
                                                           £75 - £150

Get Learning
                                                        £1,050 - £2,100

Planning the Future
                                                          £150 - £300

Expert Supervision                                        £330 - £675

     12.       Lessons learned and recommendations to
Lessons and recommendations were gained throughout the Get Digital
programme from surveys and interviews with scheme contacts, tutors and

Key success factors
Scheme contacts believed the following were key to the success of the programme:

      Grant funding 76%
      the quality and skills of the tutor 74%
      The initial residents’ learning programme 76%
      Peer support 47%
      Involvement of community partners 30%
      Toolkits 25%
      10% stressed the importance of promoting the programme to residents
      41% highlighted the importance of planning the project properly and allocating
        enough staff time to the project
      43% felt that it was important to consult with residents immediately to discover
        what they would like to achieve from the project, what they would like to learn
        and importantly, to get them on board with the project from the start:

        “Make sure you have buy-in from the residents before launching”.

        “Make sure you research the needs of older people and talk to them either
        individually or in groups so you can find out what they need and explain the
        benefits and limitations of signing up to this kind of project”.

Tutors were asked which factors they thought had enabled the success of Get Digital
at each scheme.

      Tutoring in pairs/small groups 88%

      Enthusiasm of resident 86%
      Grant to purchase equipment/internet access 81%
      Commitment of the scheme manager 70%
      Tailored learning programme to meet residents’ needs 66%
      Commitment from the landlord 54%
      Scheme staff’s support of residents’ learning 53%
      Involving residents in onsite delivery 47%
      Quality of learning resources for residents 38%
      Including social events in the programme 26%
      Scheme staff’s ICT skills 25%
      Involving community partners 24%

Other success factors were identified as the enthusiasm of the housing association’s
activities co-ordinator and other supporters of the programme.

Recommendations for landlords
     Tutors were asked whether there were any factors that could improve the

      Increased involvement of community partners 50%
      Deliver training on one to one basis 35%
      More involvement of scheme staff 30%
      More landlord support 29%
      More resident involvement in planning 24%
      More technical support for schemes 21%
      Scheme staff with better ICT skills 12%

Other suggestions included prompt cards for residents to use, homework for
residents, more time for lessons, less structure to the learning programme, and
making sure that communal equipment is easy for residents to access in between

In the final reports from schemes, contacts were asked “If you were starting this
project again, what would you do differently?”

      17% stated there was nothing they would do differently if given the opportunity
      13% stated they would increase the involvement of colleagues in the project
      10% stated they would increase their residents’ involvement
      10% would increase partner involvement
     5% would take a consistent approach across multiple sites to minimise
        duplication of effort

     13.       Conclusion
     In January 2011, the Social Housing Providers’ Digital Inclusion Strategy Group 9
     identified the potential benefits for social landlords who address tenants’ digital
     inclusion as:

      An effective marketing tool promoting good service-user-led services to
        existing and prospective residents
      Increased customer satisfaction
      Increased access and opportunities via Choice based lettings
      A cost-effective communication tool supporting investments made by
        landlords in online information via their own websites
      Potential cost savings if transactional services such as repairs and
        maintenance requests and finance are switched from face to face or
        telephone to online systems
      Improved education, employment and health and wellbeing information and
        awareness of residents
      Outcomes such as provision of digital inclusion, promoting life-long learning
        and using community volunteers are all part of the ‘Big Society’ and provision
        of these services can attract additional funding.
      As an example of good practice for audit commission inspections
      In-line with the government’s agenda in supporting communities

      Development of partnerships and associations with other appropriate

As more landlords address the digital inclusion needs of their residents and as
technology use becomes increasingly pervasive, those who do not are in danger of
being left behind and being marginalised in a competitive market.

     15.       References
     1. Internet Access Quarterly Update 2011, Office for National Statistics
     2. Getting ON; A Manifesto for Older People in a Networked Nation, June 2011,
        Race Online 2012

     3. Get Digital Evaluation, NIACE September 2011.
     4. Social Housing Providers and Digital Inclusion Strategy Group 2010 Action
     5. Totally Connected, Community Innovation UK, 2007

     6. Get Digital website:

     7. ‘Directgov 2010 and Beyond: Revolution not Evolution’ published October

     8. Open Public Services White Paper, July 2011.
     9. Social Housing Providers’ Digital Inclusion Strategy Group – Key Messages –
        Jan 2011.
     10. “A new regulatory framework for social housing in England.” Tenant Services
         Authority (TSA), 2008.
     11. “Implementing social housing reform: Directions to the social housing
         regulator”. Communities and Local Government, July 2011. ”.

     12. Tenant Services Authority, 2011, p. 8.

     13. Building the Business Case for Enhanced Digital Inclusion”, Peabody, 2010
     14. Source: Audit Commission, based on London and Quadrant Housing
         Association’s ‘ten ways to be involved’ 2008
     15. Audit Commission fieldwork 2009
     16. NIACE evaluation Get Digital, September 2011
     17. Independent Age, 2010
     18. Freshminds, 2010.

     19. Learners’ Time 1, Time 2 and Time 3 surveys, NIACE Get Digital impact
         survey, 2011.
     20. NIACE evaluation report on phase 1 of the Get Digital project

     15.        Appendix 1: About the programme
The Get Digital project was developed to promote and support digital inclusion for
older residents in sheltered housing. Applications were invited from sheltered
housing schemes across England and ssuccessful applicants received a package of
grants, training and support to promote, deliver and sustain digital literacy skills for
their residents.

The offer to schemes included:
        Grants to schemes to set up, support and sustain communal IT facilities.
        Pre – training resident engagement and scheme set up sessions to prepare
         residents, schemes and their managing landlords to participate in the
        A customised 7 week digital literacy skills training programme for residents
         and staff in sheltered housing schemes.
        Support for schemes to initiate and sustain partnerships with local people and
         organisations to sustain residents’ digital inclusion in the longer term.
        Guidance for schemes and landlords throughout the programme
        Access to a range of learning and support materials for landlords, residents
         and scheme staff.

Residents’ participation rate was high at over 50%, with over 2,500 learners
benefitting from the programme and some schemes commenting that Get Digital was
the best attended participatory event ever run.

Almost half (46%) of scheme staff agreed that the sheer enjoyment, enthusiasm and
interest in the programme displayed by the residents was Get Digital’s greatest
achievement. The programme was also extremely well supported, with support from
scheme staff and landlord organisations and partnerships with organisations at a
local and national level.

Get Digital toolkits were developed in partnership with sector representatives, staff
and residents. Over 300 schemes and landlords have downloaded the training
materials and are using them to deliver their own digital inclusion programmes.

     16.       Appendix 2: About the evaluation
The aim of the evaluation was to assess the benefits of the programme and to
identify its critical success factors. The research comprised an eighteen month
investigation into the impact of the Get Digital Programme on a range of
stakeholders including residents, sheltered housing schemes, landlords and
community partners.

The evaluation combined qualitative data from 12 participating schemes, selected as
case study sites, and quantitative data from residents, scheme contacts, landlord
representatives and tutors. Scheme contacts included scheme staff, scheme
managers, activity coordinators and staff responsible for health and well being.

        Qualitative data
The qualitative study was carried out with 12 participating schemes. Qualitative data
was also collected from residents, scheme contacts and tutors across the
programme through the use of open questions. These concentrated on topics which
included residents’ use of, and attitudes towards technology before the outset of the
programme and their expectations of the programme with further questions and
interviews with landlords, scheme contacts, tutors, community partners and residents
at the end of the programme concentrating on experiences and views of the
programme, the benefits/changes experienced and future plans for using ICT
equipment and facilities.

    Quantitative data
Quantitative data was collected from residents, scheme contacts, tutors and users of
the Get Digital website, across the whole of the programme. Data collection included
resident and scheme contact surveys as well as a survey of toolkit users. A final
report from all participating schemes gave further quantitative and qualitative data.

     17.      Appendix 3: Detailed costs for Access option 3
Computers installed in a communal facility for residents’ use.

Item                                                     Cost
2 computers including MS office @ £450 each              £900
2 new large screens, min 22” @ £140 each                 £280
1 multi-function printer, print, scan & copy             £100
12 months consumables                                    £200
2 large-print keyboards @£45 each                        £90
Additional trackball mice @ £25 each                     £50
Webcam and desktop Skype phone                           £60
Solid-frame desks and height-adjustable chairs           £500 (consider second
12 months broadband provision*                           £300
Telephone line                                           £200
Installation of all equipment                            £300
12 month onsite IT support                               £900
Total                                                    £3,880

     18.        Appendix 4: Basic costs - equality of access

Wheelchair access         Location of computers must be large enough and
Appropriate chairs        Must be solid and without wheels
Strong tables             Residents tend to lean on tables when transferring to and
                          from seats

Large print keyboards     While specialist adapted equipment may not be required for
                          most schemes, large print keyboards were widely used.

                          Indicative cost: £30-£45 each.

Adaptive technology       Assessed on an individual basis, hugely beneficial for the
                          right person. Can be stigmatised and shunned by those
                          who feel they are not disabled. Once installed, usage
                          needs monitoring to ensure that equipment continues to be
                          used. In the Essex Unite project, specialist keyboards were
                          installed in some schemes but were mainly unused by

                          Indicative cost: £100 upwards depending on

Assisted access           Residents who feel that they are completely unable to use a
                          computer themselves can still enjoy the benefits of
                          accessing services and communicating with family and
                          friends by having a supporter sit with them and use the
                          equipment on their behalf.

Further detail can be found in the “Access for all” section of the Get Digital toolkits.

     19.     Appendix 5: Encouraging staff support.

Should have visible support and             Digital Inclusion is not just about cutting
encouragement from the organisation’s       jobs and reducing costs. Opening
senior management                           communication channels between
                                            residents and staff has been shown to
                                            improve customer satisfaction – for
                                            example reporting faults or safety issues
                                            & receiving a written response.

Be consulted with for planning delivery     Experience shows that staff buy in to
as early as possible                        Digital Inclusion has been at the heart of
                                            the successful schemes. Staff resistance
                                            has clearly held back the success of
                                            some schemes. Scheme managers
                                            have great insight into their residents’
                                            needs. These will be different from
                                            scheme to scheme. Location and
                                            logistics for any installation work will
                                            need to be co-ordinated on the ground.

Be able to draw on the expertise and        Knowledge transfer builds team and
advice of staff across the organisation     working relationships. Opportunity for
                                            “head office” to get out into the wider
                                            workforce builds contingency and
                                            resilience within the work force if key
                                            people leave.

Offered training to increase their own      Staff could:
digital skills and to effectively support    attend sessions with residents
residents                                    receive training from colleagues
                                             receive formal external training

                                            While there is a cost to the employer, IT-
                                            literate staff are essential for the
                                            organisation’s internal communications
                                            and should be considered as part of their
                                            continual professional development.
                                            Formal training is available from c£50 per

     20.         Appendix 6: Support from landlords
     End of project reports demonstrated the importance of the landlord to the
     success of the programme, with the majority of scheme staff stating that that they
     had received support from the landlord or from someone acting on behalf of the
     landlord. Scheme staff were asked what support they had been offered by their

Over half of scheme staff who had received advice drew on the expertise of their
organisation’s IT staff or department (56%) while other sources of support and
advice included other housing scheme and landlord staff.

     21.       Appendix 7: Case study 1.

     Get Digital sheltered housing scheme U1 participating in the Get Digital

     a) Programme model

        Member of landlord organisation staff managed programme.
        Scheme staff supported programme e.g. managed residents’ training
        Landlord: applied for funding, made funding available for continued
         professional tutoring, offering funding to extend programme to other schemes,
         made staff resource available.
        Digital Unite tutor: Supported scheme, engaged and trained residents.
        Community partner: Sourced and installed equipment provided technical
         support, training pupils from local school as resident mentors.
        Residents: Provided peer support

     b) Background
Scheme U1 is located in an urban area in the North of England, home to 75
individuals aged 58 to 98. The landlord organisation is an arm’s length management
organisation, delivering services on behalf of a local authority. It manages 31
sheltered housing schemes, which accommodate 3000 residents.

Working with a local community organisation, the landlord organisation had delivered
digital literacy programmes to its residents prior to the Get Digital programme. Two
taster sessions using “myguide” had been held at this scheme. Sessions were very
well received and highlighted the need for equipment to be available on site to
enable residents to access the internet and develop and embed their IT skills.

Two schemes were granted Get Digital funding, with the intention that each scheme
would act as a digital hub for several schemes in the local area. Communal
computers located in a room close to the Warden’s Office and lift. The room is light
and of a good size. All residents have a key to access the computer room.

Fifteen residents from the scheme participated. Eleven were aged 75 or over.
Approximately half of the group were complete beginners to computers. The majority
of those taking part had mobility issues and a third had dexterity issues.

     c) Costs:
Funding was used to purchase IT hardware, software and accessibility aids, and to
cover set up and Internet connectivity costs. Some programme funding was also
allocated to supporting the sustainability of the programme.

Capital costs                                                   £
Desktop Tower                                                   1092.09
Desktop Monitor                                                 331.11
Printer-Network                                                 233.38
Printer peripherals                                             49.35
Accessibility aids                                              137.11
Headphones (3 sets)                                             20.97
Software anti-virus                                             67.43
Broadband wireless set up                                       383.00
Equipment set up and installation and network configuration     120.00
Webcams                                                         40.00
Software packages                                               100.00
Locks and security                                              40.00
Annual on-going charges
Broadband                                                       341.38
Paper, ink cartridges, memory sticks                            Absorbed by landlord
Insurance, maintenance                                          To be confirmed
Technical support                                               To be confirmed
Transport to bring in residents from other schemes              2300.00
Bidding work to supply tutors and tutor payments                3000.00
CRB funding for mentors and volunteers, and training            200.00
Publicity work and working with residents                       230.00
Total funding from Get Digital*                                 £4000.82

*The landlord is committed to raising the additional funds required to sustain the
project from other sources

     d) Strengths and success factors

        Tutor and learning programme – Residents and other stakeholders were
         very complimentary about the tutor. One resident said: ‘We need patience and
         she had it in abundance. We could relax because she was relaxed’. Another

         commented: ‘She didn’t belittle us. We were on her level’. Residents had
         enjoyed learning in pairs.

        Residents – Residents were very motivated and took ownership of the
         computers without prompting. Residents supported each other and
         encouraged others to engage. The computers were accessed between the
         learning sessions and continue to be well used, to the extent that a timetable
         may need to be introduced to ensure fair access.

        Staff resource – The time given by the landlord to the project was considered
         a critical success factor.

        Involvement of community partner – The community partner told the
         landlord about the Get Digital programme. They provided support throughout
         the programme and brought with them a wealth of knowledge and expertise in
         the area.

         e) Future plans
        Residents would like a tutor to continue offering learning sessions. The
         scheme has a waiting list for lessons, which includes some residents who did
         not participate in the learning programme. The landlord is committed to
         bringing in a tutor to continue the training for residents.

        The community partner is establishing a project with a local secondary school,
         in which they will train up pupils to act as mentors to the residents. The
         organisation also provides volunteering opportunities for unemployed adults
         which could provide a further opportunity for ensuring sustainability.

        Some funding is available for sustaining the project but additional money is
         required if all the aspirations of the landlord are to be realised, including
         extending access to neighbouring schemes and installing equipment at more
         sites. Both the landlord and community partner will continue to apply for

         external funding. The landlord is also keen for residents to set up a scheme
         social account grant which will widen the scope for funding.

        It was acknowledged that some residents may be willing to travel to other
         learning venues now but that transport would need to be provided. The
         landlord commented: ‘One of the major things we’ve found over the years with
         everything that we try to do is if we don’t fund transport it’s a major Achilles’

     22.        Appendix 8: Case study 2.

Get Digital sheltered Housing Scheme U3

a) Programme model for scheme U3


        Landlord managed the programme.
        Scheme manager made the funding application, coordinated programme and
         supported residents.
        Resident computer club input to funding application. Offered peer support.
        Community partners: Duke of Edinburgh provided support surgery for
         residents once per week over three months; local specialist maths and IT high
         school provided weekly ICT drop in session at the school for community
         members, with student providing support to older community members.
         Residents used school facilities; sixth form students visited scheme in pairs
         on a fortnightly basis to support residents; volunteers from the landlord
         resident youth involvement forum visited the scheme at separate times for two

         hours each every week to support residents. Also acted as translators for the
         Somalian residents with low level English speaking skills.
        Digital Unite tutor: Supported scheme, engaged and trained residents. Offered
         support to pupils to become resident mentors.

     b) Background
Sheltered housing scheme U3 is located in an urban area in the London/South East
region. It is managed by a Registered Social Landlord. The landlord manages 13
sheltered housing schemes, which are home to approximately 590 residents.
Scheme U3 was the only scheme managed by the landlord organisation participating
in Get Digital. The landlord organisation had previously delivered two digital literacy
programmes to residents – one at another scheme and one at their head office – and
five residents from scheme U3 took part.

The scheme itself is located in a busy shopping area. It comprises 62 flats, and was
home to 67 residents at the start of Get Digital. The resident group includes a large
proportion of Asian residents, some of whose first language is not English. The
scheme hosts classes in English as a foreign language. A voluntary/community
organisation runs a luncheon club at the scheme three times a week. The scheme
manager is non-resident.

Prior to Get Digital, the scheme already had one computer with internet access, and
an existing computer club with five members. The scheme manager had delivered
ICT training to the computer club members. The scheme had also hosted
intergenerational events, including one where young people supported residents to
use Skype to contact residents in other schemes. Prior to Get Digital, the scheme
manager surveyed residents and members of the luncheon club and found that 19
would be interested in taking part in ICT training.

c) Costs
Funding was used to pay for a computer with an ergonomic mouse and keyboard
and a large screen monitor, a printer, internet connection, furniture, software
(including screen reader software), consumables, maintenance, a digital camera and

a launch event. The computers were located in a locked computer room; the scheme
manager and members of the computer club had keys to access the room. 15
residents signed up to the tutoring sessions.

Computer equipment: One PC, ergonomic                            £610
mouse and keyboard, monitor and printer
Furniture (desk and chair)                                       £250
Installation cost                                                £200
Software                                                         £755
Internet connection, router and virus protection                 £315
Total capital cost of installation
Annual ongoing costs
Ink/cartridges/paper                                             £500
Maintenance contract (1 year)                                    £500
Total annual ongoing costs                                      £1,000
Engagement with residents Launch event                           £105
Digital camera/digital recorder                                  £200
Extra software (genealogy etc)                                   £225
Computer security                                                £100

     e) Strengths and success factors
        The scheme manager. The scheme manager took a very proactive role in
         coordinating the programme. Other stakeholders reported that her levels of
         enthusiasm, cooperation and professionalism were instrumental in its
         success. She was in regular contact with the tutor in between sessions,
         harnessed the support of community partners and supported learners in
         between sessions to realise the benefits of ICT.

      Peer support. Existing computer club members helped to drive residents’
         enthusiasm in Get Digital. They used their experiences to contribute at the

         application stage. They also ran weekly sessions to offer support to residents
         in between tutoring sessions.

        The location. Some residents felt that the most valuable aspect of the
         programme was that it was based at the scheme. This meant that bad
         weather and health conditions did not prevent people taking part.

        Community partners. The scheme was extremely successful in engaging a
         range of partners to offer support at different time periods across and after the
         Get Digital programme. This provided residents with opportunities to practice
         newly acquired skills and maintained commitment in between sessions.

         e) Future plans
At the time of the research, resident learners intended to carry on using ICT, and the
computer club remained active. The scheme manager hoped to be able to engage
more new residents and luncheon club members in ICT use, and planned to
continue to access support from volunteers. However, the scheme does not have
funds allocated to access any extra tutoring. There is also no budget for ICT
maintenance, and the scheme cannot rely on the landlord IT department being able
to travel to the scheme to provide this. They will reintroduce fees for the computer
club to cover some costs, and may apply to charitable trusts.

The landlord organisation is currently embedding ICT and digital literacy
programmes into their strategic planning. Success at scheme U3 has raised
awareness amongst other scheme managers, and the landlord is keen to roll out
digital literacy programmes to other schemes.

They envisage this can be resourced by:
        The landlord IT department providing refurbished ICT equipment to schemes.
        Engaging support from community partners and the landlord resident
         involvement youth forum.
        Applications to charitable trusts and grants programmes.

It is hoped that residents at scheme may also visit other schemes to share their
experiences with other residents.

     23.       Appendix 9: Case study 3.

Get Digital sheltered Housing Scheme U5

a) Programme model for scheme U5

        Member of staff: with a remit around health and well-being worked across five
         schemes to support the development and implantation of the activities
         programme at the scheme. Responsible for the day-to-day running of Get
         Digital and provided updates about the programme to the scheme manager
         and other staff based on-site.
        Landlord sourced IT equipment.
        Digital Unite tutor: Supported scheme, engaged and trained residents.
        Internal IT support: Provided expertise on equipment selection and ongoing
         computer maintenance.

     a) Background
Scheme U5 is an Extra Care Sheltered Housing Scheme located in an urban area in
the South East of England. It is home to 64 residents. The scheme is owned by a
Registered Social Landlord which has sheltered housing schemes across the region.
This was their only scheme taking part in the Get Digital programme.

The landlord had not delivered any digital literacy programmes to its residents prior
to the Get Digital programme. As the programme launched, the organisation was
piloting an activities programme in this scheme to promote the health and wellbeing
of residents and to increase social inclusion. Consultation with residents had
identified a need to establish a computer facility on site. The computers were set up
in a lockable room close to the main entrance.

Learning sessions were open to residents from the scheme and also other tenants of
the landlord living in the local community. Fourteen individuals took part in the
training, with the majority living at the scheme and around a third living in the
surrounding area. It was a mixed group in terms of prior experience of computers,
and included some individuals who had not used a computer before. Those who
took part were also engaged in other activities.

     b) Costs
Programme funding was used to pay for installation costs, software, Internet
charges, printer, chairs and IT support.

Capital costs
MS Office Licenses                                                210
DeskJet Printer                                                   100
Chairs for IT suite                                               688
Installation/ Electrical works (including broadband)              850
Annual on-going charges
Broadband charges                                                 435
IT support contract                                               700
Total funding from Get Digital                                    £2983

    d) Strengths and success factors
   Tutor – There was high praise for the tutor from residents and the landlord.
    Residents said ‘he read us really well’, made the sessions fun, was patient and
    explained things in a way that was easy to understand. They felt comfortable and for
    one resident: ‘It didn’t feel like learning’. The landlord considered the way in which
    the tutor tailored the programme to resident’s individual needs and interests to be
    critical to its success. They felt ‘lucky’ to have been assigned this tutor and were
    grateful for the additional time he had given to the role: ‘The people who are
    employed to deliver make or break this’.

            Staff resource – The landlord highlighted the role and skills of the scheme
             contact, and also support from the internal IT department, as critical success
             factors. The management and implementation of the programme did require
             a significant amount of staff time to be available.

        Enthusiastic residents – The tutor and landlord were very positive about the
         enthusiasm and commitment of the individuals who took part in the programme.
         The majority completed the programme and sessions were only missed where
         this was unavoidable. The landlord was very pleased that the programme
         engaged both residents and non-residents and also individuals with varying
         levels of I.T experience. They considered the diversity of the group to be another
         factor in its success.

         e) Future plans
    Residents are starting to access the computer room outside of lessons. An
    agreement has been developed by the landlord and once residents sign this they are
    given the key code. The scheme contact said some residents now want to use the
    computers independently.

    Two of the Get Digital learners have been recruited as computer mentors to run drop
    in sessions. However, there has been very low take up from residents to date. Some
    further workshops with scheme staff are likely.

A UK online tutor is delivering a weekly class at the scheme for individuals who took
part in Get Digital and wish to maintain and further develop their skills. There is
space for some more learners to take part; however this requires some further initial
engagement work with residents by staff and there are resource implications. The
current tutor is skilled in running specific courses, for example, digital photography
and genealogy so this provides a further opportunity. There was some interest from
residents to set up specific interest groups. The landlord is also linked in to the local
learning partnership which presents more opportunities.

The landlord’s vision is “for activities to fuse together” (e.g. using the computers as
part of the art class) and for the computer room to be opened up as an IT resource
for the whole community. However, past experience has taught them not to try too
many things all at the same time but rather to ‘go at the pace that everyone else can
keep up with’. The scheme contact is starting to promote the idea of computer
classes at another scheme: ‘It’s worked here and I think it’s something we should be
moving on’. It was noted however that each scheme is unique: ‘You’ve got different
residents, different cultures, and different staff. Every time you do something there
are different opportunities and challenges’.

     24.       Appendix 10: Case Study 4.

Essex UnITe – a partnership project delivering digital inclusion to older people
throughout Essex.

a) Programme Model


    Partnership: Age UK, Essex County Council, RSLs Genesis Community and
     Chelmer Housing Partnership (CHP), MillRace IT Ltd. Following a successful
     pilot funded by Essex County Council, EEDA, BT and Genesis Community (2007-
     2008), grant funding was obtained from Big Lottery (2008-2011) by partner Age
     UK plus landlord contribution to further develop the project.

    Landlord – RSL partners Genesis Community and CHP identified suitable
     schemes, engaged with residents and contributed towards the costs.

    Scheme Manager - Scheme staff supported programme and arranged additional
     workshops and events. CHP provided connectivity via scheme office.

    Project Management and delivery - social enterprise MillRace IT supplied
     refurbished equipment, broadband, training programme, recruited and managed
     volunteer mentor programme and provided on-going technical support.

    Digital Ambassadors – learners from the pilot phase who were recruited to
     actively promote the project to their peers at new schemes and in the community.

    Volunteers – provided extra support to residents and gave on-going
     sustainability for programme.

b) Background
Essex UnITe evolved from a two-phase pilot project which ran from 2004-2008
whereby computer equipment was installed in the communal areas of 21 supported
housing schemes in East London and Essex resulting in 320 older people learning
how to go online and use the internet.

This provided the evidence base and demonstration of need to develop the project
further, and partner Age UK successfully applied for a £428K grant from Big Lottery
allowing the project to develop for a further 2 years. This provided training to 36
schemes reaching 550 residents. The project was adapted to include provision for
the wider community, and targeted with delivering road shows and events to reach
over 8000 older people.

Landlords identified potentially suitable schemes, engaging with residents and
gaining consent to install the computers in a communal area. Digital Ambassadors
– successful learners from the pilot phase – actively promoted the programme to
potential new learners within their housing association and at road show events in
the community.

MillRace IT arranged installation of computers, furniture, connectivity and training.
Training was delivered at a pace for the older learner, repeating key steps, keeping it
simple and non-technical. Volunteers were recruited to act as mentors, attending
training sessions and providing on-going support.

c) Costs

Computer equipment including PC, large screen, large print           £650
keyboard, mouse, multi-function printer, webcam and Skype            per system
Furniture (desk and chair)                                           £175
Total capital cost of installation per computer station              £825

Broadband cost per year (connected to existing phone line)           £250
On-site technical support cost per year per computer                 £350
Annual charges (on-going costs)                                      £600

5-week training course including coffee morning launch event         £2250
Volunteer recruitment and management package                         £1500

Typically, Essex UnITe installations have included 2 computer stations with support,
broadband, training and volunteer recruitment at approximately £6175 per scheme.
On-going costs for maintenance of 2 computers plus broadband and telephone line
is around £950 per year plus the cost of consumable items such as paper and ink
cartridges and any replacement parts required.

a) Strengths and success factors
    Championship by scheme managers – the project was supported by the scheme
     managers who encouraged staff support, resident participation, and helped
     manage course bookings and attendance. “A completely new world has been
     opened up. I am proud of the residents that took up the training and all they have
     achieved” (Scheme Manager, Regency Lodge).

    Peer group champions – encouraged other residents to take part in an “if I can do
     it, you can too” approach.

    Residents – were enthusiastic and motivated “Learning to email friends and
     family has made it so easy to keep in touch.”

    Volunteers – recruiting local volunteers to help mentor on a one-to-one or group
     basis provided sustainability after the formal training programme had finished.

        “With the help and dedication of the instructors we gradually began to learn.
        We have learned something, and each week a little bit more with the

    Partnership working – developing strong partnerships with local and national
     organisations in order to obtain funding.

b) Next steps – continuing with a sustainable model
Genesis and CHP have both recognised and fulfilled the need for a digital inclusion
programme for current residents in their sheltered housing schemes. The outcomes
have proved that the lives of many of their residents were transformed and they
acknowledge their duty of care to continue with provision.

The on-going model is sustainable with alternative revenue streams – either housing
association funded or paid for by residents, and with Digital Ambassadors and
volunteers passing on their knowledge to both existing and future residents. Training
will be supplemented by occasional tutor-led workshops and events.

This programme demonstrated the value of championing by staff and residents and
partnerships with local suppliers and voluntary organisations to develop a successful
digital inclusion programme in sheltered housing schemes.

     25.      Appendix 11: Case Study 5.
Maldon and District Digital Inclusion Project for 2 housing schemes owned by
Colne Housing Society and Maldon Housing, plus community provision

a) Programme model

    Partnership: Maldon District Council, Moat Housing, Maldon Housing,
     Colne Housing Society, MillRace IT Ltd. Maldon District Council provided a
     grant from their PRG fund.

    Landlord – Moat Housing, Maldon Housing and Cole Housing Society identified
     suitable schemes, engaged with residents and contributed towards the costs.

    Scheme Manager - Scheme staff supported the programme and arranged
     additional workshops and events.

        Project Management and delivery - social enterprise MillRace IT supplied
         refurbished equipment, broadband, training programme, recruited and managed
         volunteer mentor programme and provided on-going technical support.

        Volunteers – provided on-going support to residents and sustainability for

         b) Background
    Maldon District Council wanted to encourage access to and use of IT for people who
    might be vulnerable and potentially in need of support due to older age, learning
    disability or mental health. Funding was sought through the District’s LSP to
    contribute to a pilot project in the District based on the successful Essex UnITe
    project. RSL’s Colne Housing Society (1 sheltered scheme in the District) and
    Maldon Housing (3 sheltered schemes in the District) expressed an interest in
    participating and identified schemes that would be suitable for inclusion.

    Maldon District’s LSP obtained funding of £23K to provide broadband and computer
    equipment at 2 housing schemes, supported by a 6-week training programme for
    residents, a themed workshop (such as genealogy or digital photography, one year’s
    on-site technical support, one year’s volunteer mentor recruitment and support, and
    service-user engagement, project promotion and recruitment of Digital

    Additional funding from the existing Essex UnITe lottery project was used to support
    a high street road show event and 2 community workshops within the District.

   27 people took up the training in the schemes with an additional 21 at a workshop.
   674 people attended the Maldon Road show which provided the opportunity for
    hands-on taster sessions tailored to suit the ability of the individual. Attendees were
    signposted to further IT training in the area.

    6 volunteers were recruited to provide continued support and help at the two
    participating schemes.
c) Costs

RSLs - Moat Housing Group and Colne Housing Society

2 x computer installations including PC, large screen, large print            £2500
keyboard, mouse, multi-function printer, webcam and Skype phone,
furniture (desk and chair)
6 week training package to include computer basics, email, internet           £1500
Themed workshop (e.g. genealogy, digital photography or Skype)                £500
Volunteer mentor recruitment and support for 12 months                        £1500
On-site technical support                                                     £350

Project management, monitoring & evaluation, project report                   £1500
Service user engagement, promotion and Digital Ambassador scheme              £800

High Street road show event promoting use of technology                       £5000
2 community workshops                                                         £3600

TOTAL PROJECT COST                                                            £22800

d) Strengths and success factors
    Maldon Housing and Colne Housing Society were able to take advantage of an
     existing successful local digital inclusion project - Essex UnITe – and benefit from
     its proven model for both sheltered housing schemes and community delivery.
    Having recognised the need for provision, Maldon District Council was able to
     take the lead - identifying RSLs who would participate and obtaining funding.
    This model allowed Maldon DC to include provision for digital inclusion in the
     wider community.

Training – residents were very complimentary about the training and tutor –
“Would love to return to these sessions in the future as both teaching and hand-outs
were clear and taught gaps in my sketchy knowledge as well as          successfully
pushing me beyond what I considered my capabilities. Past experience – had
computer for 10 years – very simple lessons given over a period but mainly forgotten
due to lack of practice. These lessons have renewed my enthusiasm to learn more
and more.”

e) Future plans
Maldon DC and the partners involved had identified phase two of the project to add
an additional scheme in a rural isolated area and further community events in rural
locations. Unfortunately due to the wider economic situation, the approved funding
of £8000 was withdrawn 4 weeks prior to phase two commencing. The existing
schemes continue and expect to be funded through a mix of service user charges
and direct funding from the RSL partners.


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