The 12 successful bidders for the government’s ‘Digital Deal’ were announced in August, with £400,000 of funding from the Department for Work & Pensions and the Department for Communities and Local Government alongside the same amount matched by the winning bidders.
The Digital Deal is intended to encourage more tenants in social housing to get online, improve their skills and benefit from wider internet services. The 12 successful bids cover a range of projects including community volunteer support and expert mentors, mobile wi-fi clouds, converting TVs into internet devices and recycled IT equipment.
The successful housing providers comprised:
- A2 Dominion Housing Group is running a ‘train the trainer’ programme with a network of trained staff and resident mentors, providing seven new ‘Digital ‘ access points in community facilities and starting a computer recycling project.
- Bron Afon Community Housing is setting up a wi-fi and broadband network, with its chief executive, Duncan Forbes, saying, “The majority of job-hunting already takes place online so it’s vital we increase the number of places where the internet is available free of charge.”
- Cottsway Housing is using a digital television channel, website and mobile app from Looking Local to give its rural residents free access to digital services.
- Fabrick Housing Group is setting up 12 free internet kiosks, providing free internet training for residents, employing three apprentices as ICT engagement champions and providing training for 60 digital champions.
- Golden Gates Housing Trust is connecting its residents’ televisions to the internet using Android-based mini PCs from Digital Den.
- Leeds Federated Housing is setting up a mobile internet café with free wi-fi.
- London Borough of Camden is offering low-cost, recycled computers to its residents.
- Queens Cross Housing’s ‘Local Connections’ project will improve digital inclusion based around four new community digital hubs.
- Progress Housing Group is offering IT training to its tenants and setting up a network of tenant zones.
- South Essex Homes’ chief executive, Mike Gatrell said, “A recent survey showed that 55 per cent of our residents have no internet access. The Digital Deal funding will provide six months of digital training and volunteering opportunities delivered from a number of locations across the borough.”
- Wirral Partnership Homes is offering recycled IT equipment via a local social enterprise.
Yarlington Housing Group’s head of communities, Ken Comber, said, “Some of our tenants will be trained as ‘digital champions’ who will help their communities to access IT information. Rural residents will be able to access computers through our equipment loan scheme and a tour of Gadget Shows will give tenants the opportunity to learn more about IT and experience the internet.”