The Tinder Foundation has announced the results of its Digital Deal funding which was designed to stimulate digital inclusion activities in social housing. 12 housing providers took part in the Digital Deal, which was jointly funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Key findings from the evaluation projects included: the importance of long term investment to encourage digitally-excluded tenants to transact online; websites and online services need to be so simple that they become the preferred channel for tenants; support for digital skills should be embedded into all support services; the creation of tablet loans schemes and low cost borrow-to-buy partnerships with credit unions; and partnerships between housing providers, UK Online Centres, Jobcentres and others to accelerate digital inclusion.
Helen Milner, Chief Executive of Tinder Foundation says “Digital inclusion continues to be a huge priority for the housing sector, and not only are more and more services moving online, but tenants are also beginning to demand online services.”
Each organisation taking part in the Digital Deal took a different approach. For example, Golden Gates Housing installed estate-wide wi-fi and redesigned its online services portal; Queens Cross Housing opened five new ‘digital community hubs’; and Leeds Federated Housing used two digitally-equipped buses to reach places that couldn’t be reached by training in fixed locations.
Paul Earl from Golden Gates Housing Trust, said, “The Digital Deal has helped to raise the profile of digital inclusion in our organisation and helped to secure executive management and board-level buy-in. This has enabled us to be more aggressive in our targets for supporting our tenants into getting online.”