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First Choice tenants benefit from 197 new digital devices

See first-hand what the beneficiaries of the scheme had to say about their new devices in the film below

Video length: 2:39

First Choice Housing Association (FCHA) occupies a very important space in the housing sector in Wales. The organisation takes a compassionate stance on housing with their mission being to improve lives through the delivery of quality-designed homes for people with a range of specialist needs, including but not limited to those with a disability. The bespoke housing solutions and support offered by the organisation enable tenants to achieve independence, fulfil their potential and optimise enjoyment of life.

For us at Digital Communities Wales (DCW), the chance to work with FCHA represents a fantastic opportunity to continue promoting the benefits of digital to one digitally underrepresented group in Wales in particular – those with disabilities or long-term health conditions.

Cadi Cliff, Programme Manager at DCW said:

“While the needs of individuals with disabilities and long-term health conditions vary considerably, we want to see the group collectively benefit from the social, economic and health advantages that digital can offer. The latest figures show that members of the group have been found to be around 6% more likely than the broader population to be digitally excluded. While there is clear sentiment to improve their digital skills, we’re finding that some individuals may need help in identifying assistive technologies and shown appropriate accessibility functions available on popular devices.”

As part of the scheme, DCW provided FCHA with 197 digital devices, which included Chromebooks, iPads and Android tablets. The devices, along with access to DCW’s digital skills training resources, were then gifted to 200 tenants, with some opting to share a device. 168 devices were gifted to tenants living in a supported setting and a further 29 devices were gifted to non-supported tenants.

Interested in understanding the unique needs of the tenants and how the two groups would take advantage of their new devices, a baseline survey for each group was carried out which aimed to capture tenant’s ability to use the device, as well as how they saw themselves benefiting from their new technology.

David Bingham, Housing Officer at First Choice Housing Association said:

“As an organisation who strives to promote independence and maximise tenant opportunity, this offer from Digital Communities Wales was huge for us as it has the potential to change the lives of those involved for the better. Those involved are really excited to use their new devices to better keep in touch with friends and family as well as developing new hobbies and learning new skills. One tenant has started a Health and Social Care Degree with The Open University, but was not able to do so until now as he did not have access to a laptop to begin his studies.”

At Digital Communities Wales, we’ll be keeping track of how First Choice Housing Association’s tenants are getting on with their new devices by surveying the two groups again in a few months’ time. We’ll look to assess the impact of the scheme as well as where we can provide further assistance so that beneficiaries are able to fully profit from the partnership between their housing association and Digital Communities Wales.

For information on how to support your community with a device loan, make sure to check out DCW’s device loan scheme guide which outlines a step-by-step approach on how to set up your own scheme.

Download the guide
Front cover of the device loan scheme guide. Text reads 'A guide to developing a DEVICE LOAN SCHEME'. The image is a cartoon of two hands using a tablet. On the screen of the tablet features cartoons of different people.