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The Get Caerphilly Online project

The Get Caerphilly Online project, run by Caerphilly County Borough Council, and funded through Communities First has been working closely with Digital Communities Wales (DCW) since 2015.

The project aims to teach basic IT skills to adults across the borough and to increase the confidence of people using technology, prioritising older people, people who are economically inactive, people living in social housing and disability groups.

Outline of our Intervention

The Get Caerphilly Online project successfully applied to DCW for a pool of brand new laptops, a couple of iPads and four Fitbits.

The equipment is used on a daily basis by the two Digital Inclusion Officers who run a series of basic IT courses and one-to-one sessions across the borough. They work with people referred from JCP, Communities For Work and other employment projects, Communities First projects, sheltered housing and Caerphilly Homes. They have also recently undertaken some successful courses with Reach Supported Living and Gofal.

The flexibility of the kit received allowed them to deliver at community venues across the borough, that were local to participants, to ensure courses are as accessible as possible. The majority of delivery takes place in libraries where free Wi-Fi is available, but the laptops and iPads also enable trainers to go into sheltered housing schemes and local community groups. This flexibility has been key to the success of the project.

Impact of our Intervention

Cerian Thomas, Digital Inclusion Officer commented, “The loan of equipment from Digital Communities Wales has been invaluable. The fact that we have more equipment readily available allows us to reach a wider audience and to offer the opportunity for people to use digital devices that they wouldn’t necessarily have access to. As an example of this, we have used the laptops in sheltered housing groups where some of the residents have mobility issues, so going to the library to access the internet is unfortunately not possible. However, we can take equipment to them so they have the chance to see how being online can really enhance your life – no matter what age you are!”

Craig Clark, Digital Inclusion Officer commented, “The technological world is constantly moving forward and, as a project, aiming to teach new users about the benefits of using new technologies it is imperative that we keep up to date with the latest equipment. The equipment received from DCW has enabled us to deliver sessions using up-to-date tools and especially the use of tablet computers such as the iPads, which are now the main equipment of choice for many individuals. The equipment received has been invaluable in our efforts to bring new technology to the residents of the Caerphilly Borough.”

Matthew Lloyd, DCW Co-ordinator for Caerphilly: “Get Caerphilly Online is a real success story that keeps evolving and adapting to current needs. Having worked with Caerphilly County Borough Council and Communities First over many years it is clear they support many people across the Borough who are digitally excluded. With the excellent partnerships they have developed over many years, this equipment has provided continuation of delivery with more up-to-date equipment. I am delighted this project continues to find new methods of delivery and this kit loan has supported their efforts.”

Individual Impact

Christine Powell attended a basic IT course in Rhymney Library. Christine Commented,

‘Since I had the support, I had completed four interviews in two months and I was getting better all the time. I am really pleased to have got a job and I would like to learn to drive to help me get out and about.’

Gabriel Snow attended a First Click course which was delivered for Disability Can Do clients. Gabi subsequently attended an accredited course and is now volunteering with Get Caerphilly Online at Digital Fridays each week. Gabi commented:

“I really enjoyed the course. Previously I did an eight week confidence course with a group of people who progressed with me onto First Click. Once my confidence improved, I made friends with others on the course and felt able to help others with the course content.”

“Cerian was a great help to me. She has a very helpful attitude and is very patient during the sessions. The course was of personal benefit to me as it was a good refresher and it was good to see how IT systems have changed.’

Explaining a typical day at Digital Fridays , Gabriel explained:

‘I come in around 9:30am and people either come to me for help or I ask people if they need any help. I generally provide support for first time users, helping them with MS Office products or with online Universal Credit claims. I both really enjoy helping people and sharpening my skills.’

Quotation mark

We have Fitbit sessions already booked in with a local school and we are really looking forward to delivering these sessions shortly, so that we can show a different side to technology.

Matthew Bevan, CCBC Community Regeneration Co-ordinator