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Sanctuary award for Digital Communities Wales

Digital Communities Wales (DCW) has received an award from Swansea City of Sanctuary for its work developing a toolkit to support the digital needs of people seeking sanctuary.

DCW also delivered training to senior mentors, covering basic digital skills and specific apps and tools that could help newly arrived people. These mentors volunteer on the ‘Welcome to Swansea’ Project. They will use their skills to train other mentors as well as supporting the people seeking sanctuary, with whom they volunteer.

Co-ordinators from Swansea City of Sanctuary facilitated a consultation with people seeking sanctuary, and mentors, around the content of a toolkit. This helped DCW to learn more about the process of seeking sanctuary in Wales, the experiences of people and what support digital tools could have provided to people at different stages. DCW also developed collaborative online spaces for people to add their own ideas and resources to form the basis of the toolkit.

In the initial stages of developing the online resources and training, DCW conducted extensive research into existing online tools, as well as researching current best practice support. DCW used this research and consultation to inform the development of its training, which forms the basis of the ‘train the trainer’ toolkit.

DCW is in the process of refining the toolkit, ready for publication, using final feedback from the senior mentors, many of whom have experienced the asylum process. Swansea City of Sanctuary will contribute awareness raising information for inclusion with the kit, to aid the knowledge of refugee and asylum seeker issues. DCW has added the collaboratively produced training and resources. The kit will support a gap in service delivery for charities and organisations that are supporting people, who are placed or settled outside areas where there are existing services for people seeking sanctuary.

The time spent focussing on issues affecting people seeking asylum has helped DCW understand that the digital support needs of this group are wide ranging and that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution available.

However, DCW believes that digital tools have the capacity to help people seeking sanctuary, particularly in areas of Wales where there are currently no formal support services.

For another perspective on this work, see a think piece on ‘Digital Inclusion and people seeking sanctuary in Wales’ published as part of ‘Digital inclusion in Wales: Perspectives on why it matters and what still needs to be done’.