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Torfaen Voluntary Alliance and the Digital Inclusion Charter for Wales

In February 2016 Digital Communities Wales launched a Digital Inclusion Charter for organisations in Wales which are promoting basic digital skills and helping people get online. Since then, more than 250 organisations have signed the Charter.

The Charter includes six pledges and is a simple way for organisations to show how they are helping digitally excluded people – particularly older people, people with disabilities, unemployed people, social housing tenants and families in poverty – enjoy the benefits of the internet.

One of those organisations is Torfaen Voluntary Alliance (TVA). Kyle Thomas, their Project Officer & Volunteer and Members Services Development Officer, has told us what the Charter and digital inclusion means to them:

All staff within TVA are encouraged and supported in accessing training that will enhance their digital skills, this is identified during regular one-to-one sessions. Volunteers that we support complete a skills assessment and, from this, we identify training that would be beneficial or improve their current skillset.

We actively embed the principles of the Charter into our day-to-day activities. Information is available on our website and Facebook page, and members are regularly referred to these. We have a dedicated IT area which volunteers, member organisations and the public can access, where TVA staff are on hand to support and guide where necessary, on how to use certain applications and software.

During volunteering interviews, people are encouraged and supported to use an iPad to search for potential volunteering opportunities. TVA provides a free service for third sector organisations who wish to have a digital presence through;

• developing a personalised web page and providing training, so they are able to maintain the site themselves
• opening social media accounts and providing guidance on running such accounts, including privacy settings etc.
• establishing email accounts, and training support around sending, receiving and filing emails.

An interesting example comes from one of our members, The Linden Singers Torfaen. They were contacted as part of the TVA members’ database update. They mentioned that their old website had been closed and the person who was in charge of it had recently left the group, so they required a new website. We offered to meet with the group to discuss what they would require from the site. From this we were able to help create a simple website for them.

We met with the group during the development of the site to make sure it was exactly what they wanted. Once the website was completed, we sat with the group and showed them how to update the site themselves. We also explained that we were available to support and help with any issues they had with the site in the future.

TVA actively works to bring organisations together, with the aim of them being able to support one-another, share resources and reduce duplication. Regular events are held to assist this development. Currently, we’re working on an event in which organisations will be encouraged to attend, to share information on services that they each provide, along with the launch of the Dewis Cymru website for Torfaen, Newport, Blaenau Gwent, Monmouthshire and Caerphilly. This is something in which TVA has been commissioned, to encourage organisations to sign up to the network/database, and support them in doing this.

If you would like more information on the Digital Inclusion Charter for Wales, or would like your organisation to sign it, please go to the Charter section of this website. Thank you.