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Citizens Online and the Digital Inclusion Charter

From Emily Harper, Director of Research & Operations, Citizens Online

We ensure that our staff have an opportunity to learn basic digital skills, and that they take advantage of this opportunity. This is partly achieved through providing access to the Digital Champions Network, a platform that supports online digital skills and we encourage all of our staff to complete the ‘essentials’ module, with many going on to complete further training. We also use Futurelearn to help our staff develop their online/digital skills and take advantage of this. We give our staff time to do this training, and support through the Network and team if they need help. We have an online Slack channel dedicated to IT help, where the team can post IT issues and others can help resolve them.

As a digital inclusion charity, digital inclusion principles are embedded into our day to day activities. We actively promote accessibility, inclusion and support for digital skills. Our project in Gwynedd is providing a mobile digital champion and project co-ordinator to support other organisations improve access and skills in the local community.

We encourage and support all our staff to become Digital Champions, through the Digital Champions Network. We have recently created a local signposting website / to enable organisations to refer people to Internet access and places of support. We’re starting to work with Digital Communities Wales to train front-line staff to identify and refer people to digital skills sessions and are planning some training with Gwynedd Council library staff and Housing Benefit teams. We are working with Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) Gwynedd to deliver digital sessions alongside financial advice and have trained 8 CAB staff as digital champions too.

In terms of committing support and resources to digital inclusion activities in initiatives in Wales, we have been funded for a 15 month test and learn Big Lottery Fund programme, through the One Digital project, and are currently supporting Digital Gwynedd, a partnership of local organisations to co-ordinate and deliver digital inclusion across the county. We have commissioned and produced a baseline report evidencing the digitally excluded population; the priorities partners have that relate to digital; the current training and support available and potential ways to improve provision and access.

Digital Communities Wales is part of Digital Gwynedd, a local partnership we have brought together in Gwynedd aiming to support basic digital skills for citizens, businesses and communities; maximising the opportunities this brings, minimising the risk of exclusion and tackling issues that contribute to poverty.

Image from Digital Gwynedd website