Tens of thousands of adults in Leeds are offline or lack essential digital skills.
The 100% Digital Leeds programme is led by a team in Leeds City Council, working with partners to make Leeds the most digitally inclusive city for everyone. With more services moving online it has never been more crucial for people to have the opportunity to access the digital world to help manage their money, health, housing, leisure and mental wellbeing.
100% Digital Leeds takes a furthest first approach. The people most likely to be digitally excluded are those who have other challenges that make it more difficult for them to engage, such as disability, learning difficulties, poverty, homelessness, addiction, language barriers, long-term health conditions, social isolation, memory problems or other factors.
Leeds is a diverse and compassionate city with a fantastic third sector full of charities and voluntary organisations doing amazing work to support those who need it. 100% Digital Leeds works with these organisations to help embed digital into what they already do, building their capacity to support the people they work with.
We know that helping people to become digitally included will bring wider social benefits. Improved digital skills help people to be better informed, pay less for things, be more employable, feel more independent, be less isolated, and live happier, healthier, easier lives.
We want everyone to understand how digital can benefit them, be able to gain the skills they need to make the most of digital, and get connected. We want 100% of people in Leeds to have the opportunity to get online and to know where they can go to get help.
How the 100% Digital Team can work with your organisation.
100% Digital Leeds are facilitators. The approaches we advocate and resources we provide are informed by our knowledge of common barriers to digital inclusion but we understand that everyone’s digital inclusion journey is different. The reasons for being offline, the motivators for doing more, and the support needed to make the most of digital are always unique, whether we’re thinking about an organisation or an individual.
Often 100% Digital Leeds are navigating both of these paths as we look to engage an organisation with digital inclusion so that they can in turn engage the individuals they support. There is never one set solution and our approach is to help partners work out where they would like to be. Then we support them as they navigate that path, overcoming obstacles where they appear, and sticking with them until they reach their goal.
We can give your organisation the tools to help your service users take their first steps with digital. You know what your service users need and what motivates them, we can support you to form an approach to give them opportunities to get online and make a real difference to their lives. We have various ways in which we do this, such as our award-winning Tablet Lending scheme, our Digital Champion training sessions, local network events and more.
We can’t do this alone: we need your help to fight the digital divide. Please have a look round our site and get in touch if you have feedback, questions or ideas about how you could get involved.
The 100% Digital Leeds approach
The fundamental principles of the 100% Digital Leeds approach are:
- Convening community based assets to ensure that no-one is ‘hard to reach’;
- Working flexibly and responsively;
- Moving to a whole system approach that enables people to independently look after themselves and improve their lives;
- Connecting people to their communities and a wider circle of care and support;
- Co-designing the right interventions with professionals and practitioners, staff and volunteers and people with lived experience.
First we listen, then we learn, then we use our knowledge, resources, and connections to support the design of a way forward. We bring people together from different organisations and different sectors based on common interests or barriers so that they can share their experiences and learn from each other. Everything we do is designed to give organisations the knowledge, confidence and freedom to develop their own signature approach, weaving digital into their day-to-day activities in a way that benefits everyone: the organisation, its clients, and in turn, the city.
Support and resources
Support from 100% Digital Leeds can include the provision of equipment, grant funding, technical support, Digital Champions training, signposting to existing statistics, reports and toolkits, encouraging mutually beneficial partnerships and knowledge sharing, and advice on how to tackle digital inclusion issues in a way that works for different organisations.
Digital Champion Training
Our Digital Champion training helps an organisation’s staff and volunteers come together to better understand the shared barriers of their client base and advocates for an individualised approach. We celebrate how relationships with clients help staff to understand their particular needs, barriers, and motivations, using each of these to find a way forward. We signpost staff to accessible tools and resources that will help them to develop their skills and confidence and overcome barriers in a way that fosters independence, and we encourage them to take the same approach with clients.
Digital Inclusion Networks
We co-facilitate a number of networks bringing together partners to work collaboratively to improve digital inclusion for a specific community. Though each of the networks has its own specific priorities and objectives, produced collaboratively by its membership, each network discusses common challenges and best practice, and shares opportunities for partnership working and funding. We want to make sure that organisations are supported on their digital inclusion journeys, and to save time and effort by working collectively.
Our approach in practice
This approach and these resources were shown to good effect in our Dementia Pathfinder project as part of the NHS Widening Digital Participation programme, focusing on improving the lives of people living with dementia. The intention was to trial new ways to use digital and connectivity to support people living with dementia, their families and carers.
We brought together:
- Memory Support Workers who have contact with people living with dementia and their carers on a day to day basis,
- Staff and volunteers who spend time supporting carers and people living with dementia at weekly/monthly gatherings and
- Dementia carers.
We gave them equipment and digital skills training to explore how technology could play a part in improving the lives of people living with dementia. Their experiences fed in to the development of a toolkit made available to other agencies looking to embed digital inclusion into their approach when supporting people living with dementia.
Last updated: 09/06/21