Technology fuelling digital inclusion

Charter Housing’s project “Charter’s approach to digital communities” was a winner at the Welsh Housing Awards, I explain a bit more about our award-winning approach.

Charter's approach to digital communities 1

Charter’s approach to Digital Inclusion has developed over 12 years and is based a ‘hook’ to interests of our customers.

This started out in our sheltered schemes where we engaged people in our ‘Silver Surfers’ project.

One gentleman had never thought of using the internet until we introduced him places he could expands his miniature bottle collection!

We replicated this person centred approach creating connected communities and increasing digital literacy.

Over the years we have developed some really successful projects, engaging with small groups of tenants and working with people on a one to one basis.

In 2007 we introduced community broadband on our largest estate and now 85% of our residents are now digitally included.

The Community Bunker on the site has a small IT suite and has seen 89 residents engage this year, whether that’s to drop in and check their emails, take part in our ECDL course or access employability support.

This is also the base for our laptop loan scheme. Customers can borrow a laptop and receive support on using them to carry out job searches, complete applications or to support other training.

This has been really successful with 47 people benefiting in a 12 month period.

Our Social Media and app development has meant that we are better connected with our customers. This means we can let people know about service changes, opportunities for involvement and gather opinions in a cost effectively manner.

Our bespoke app allows rent account access and reporting repairs, and expands this mutually beneficial means of accessing and sharing information.

I’m most proud of the work we do to upskill people through digital inclusion, giving them the skills and confidence needed to access work.

Our Heritage project saw 81 people learning new skills over a year and our Radio and Radiate projects have seen young people accessing technology and gaining skills that help them stand out in the job market. As an accredited ECDL deliverer we teach people on an individual and group process to achieve a recognisable qualification, with an 85% success rate.

Winning this award means that we are on the right track. Looking to the future we working in partnership with Ffilm Cymru as that ‘hook’ to inspire involvement as well as Coding for adults and helping access Universal Credit online.

We want our customers to engage with us as they do with other services, focusing on channel shifting toward using our app.

We need to make sure our tenants have the skills for this.

This award has inspired the team and we move forward putting digital technologies and our customers at the heart of what we do.

 

This project, along with every shortlisted application in the Welsh Housing Awards, was published in CIH Cymru’s annual Good Practice Compendium, sponsored by Lovell.

The 2017 edition is a compilation of practice from across the breadth of the sector, divided into chapters that reflect areas of focus in housing right now.

You can download the Good Practice Compendium 2017 in English or Welsh on the CIH Cymru website.

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