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Training boosts capacity of RNIB Cymru project

RNIB Cymru is Wales’ largest sight loss organisation, providing a wide range of services and support to blind and partially sighted people across Wales.

It is also heavily involved in digital inclusion, as blind and partially sighted people are less likely to be online than others.To this end, the organisation is involved in a project called Online Today, a Lottery funded UK-wide project that supports blind and partially sighted people to get more out of computers, tablets, smartphones and the Internet.

Through Online Today, a team of digital inclusion officers and volunteers are working with people with sight loss, or who are deaf or hard of hearing, to help them gain confidence in using digital technology in everyday life.

However, it was identified that some of the people involved in the project needed to have their own confidence boosted around technology. Digital Communities Wales was brought in to train the Online Today team across a range of issues, including getting online, e-accessibility, and social media, among others.

Following the training, referral rates into Online Today improved. Chris Hoyle, Digital Inclusion Manager, RNIB Cymru has said that the training has had a positive impact:

“From my perspective as the Online Today manager, I found working with Digital Communities Wales and Hannah, the trainer, extremely easy. Most importantly, they understood what it was I wanted to achieve by offering this training to frontline RNIB staff who are not directly involved in digital inclusion training, but who could help people with sight loss understand how it could impact positively on their lives.

Training attendees have reported to me that they feel more confident in describing the potential benefits of being online to people with sight loss, that the training helps challenge stereotypes (i.e. “tech is not for older people”, “I am too old for all that”) and it will help them raise awareness of the importance of DI to people.”

Anita Davies, who attended the training, said:

“About five years ago my sight worsened and I found it difficult to read print. Now I can use a Kindle to highlight text or use audio options. It has enabled me to carry on with something that I’m interested in.

I used Facebook, which helps me to maintain contact with friends around the world. Without being online I wouldn’t be able to do some of the things I now do. I can also help increase confidence of people who are in a similar situation to me.”