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Taking the partnership approach at Digital Communities Wales

As part of their work, Digital Communities Wales (DCW) Advisors organise and host regular Digital Partnership meetings in each county.

Partnerships consist of organisations that provide some form of support to service users through frontline staff and volunteers, and include libraries, Job Centre Plus, housing associations, Communities First, Citizens Advice, charities, small local community groups etc.The aim of the meeting is to identify digital inclusion work undertaken by each of the partners, sharing best practice, identifying gaps in provision, skills and resources, and looking for solutions to meet specific needs by both organisations/agencies and their services users alike.

The meetings are often very successful, with common issues raised and joint solutions sought from within the groups. In recent months a Cross County Partnership meeting was held (in addition to regular events). It was identified that several “Top Tier” organisations in Conwy and Denbighshire worked across both counties and that there was scope to try and remove some of the perceived “county barriers”, by running the cross border meeting.

The meeting was highly successful, with key organisations from Conwy and Denbighshire in attendance. A positive and vibrant conversation was held, with all in attendance agreeing that the meeting was beneficial.

During the meeting North Wales Housing’s Digital Officer noted that they had Digital Communities Wales loan equipment which was not in full use (because of a recent kit purchase by them). The kit was offered to Conwy Voluntary Services Council (CVSC), who needed additional computers to run community-based sessions. The equipment loan was transferred and CVSC took position of the kit which is now is active use. This is just one example of how this partnership approach can work.