Monday, 12 August 2013

Kilburn to benefit from Digital Deal money to tackle digital deficit

A Digital Deal Challenge fund has been set up by central Government to enable social housing landlords to trial innovative projects which will help to reduce the ‘digital exclusion’ experienced by social housing residents - an area identified as in need of direction investment. Camden’s project is one of only 12 projects nationwide which has been funded and have been awarded £20,000.

This will be match funded by Camden Council. The project will be coordinated by officers within the Housing Department, who will work with a range of Council services and community based partners to deliver the pilot.

This pilot project aims to use digital inclusion and education as a tool to empower some our most vulnerable residents to tackle underlying social inequalities.

We aim to do this through combining community based promotion and education regarding the benefits of ‘going digital’ alongside a trial of installing free internet connections into a number of  our residents homes.

The project will be based in the Kilburn ward, concentrated in area around the Kingsgate Community Centre, who we are working with as partners on the project.

This area was selected on the basis of evidence which shows that there is a lower than average take up of residential broadband, that the area has higher  unemployment and also a higher numbers of school age children as residents.

What we will do:

  • Install free broadband in a number of tenanted residential properties in selected blocks in the Kilburn area
  • Provide residents in these households with appropriate devices which will allow them to access the broadband provision
  • Work with Kingsgate Community Centre to extend existing digital inclusion activity provided by the centre, by recruiting additional volunteers and promoting the available facilities to our residents in the area
  • Work with schools, the children’s centre and community centres to identify families who could benefit from this pilot
  • Work with ACL, the community centre, and residents to develop an IT course which will build tenants’ IT skills, while also helping them to develop key employability skills
  • Explore how Camden CAB’s digital inclusion ‘toolkit’ developed through a grant from the Council’s innovation fund can be integrated into this project
  • Work with libraries to promote the use of their IT services with residents and increase visits to libraries
  • Develop the project to integrate provision with the borough-wide public wi-fi when it is launched in the area
  • Measure the impact of our work through regular engagement with residents
This forms part of a wider package of measures - soon to be announced which will see Camden lead the way on digital innovation and equity. 

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