Go ON Croydon is getting Croydon residents online

By - Tuesday 17th November, 2015

The UK’s digital skills charity is setting in motion a programme to reduce Croydon’s digital divide

From L-R Amanda McGrath (Good Food Matters), Tony Newman (Leader, Croydon Council) Baroness Martha Lane-Fox (Chair, Go ON UK) Miguel-Angel Rodriguez-Sola (Group Director Digital, Lloyds Bank) Rachel Neaman (CEO, Go ON UK) Bianca Miller (Be Group, Businesswoman and The Apprentice finalist) and Evelyn Findlater (Good Food Matters).
Photo author’s own.

In today’s digital age, it’s staggering to think that 85,000 adults in Croydon won’t read this article. And that’s not because they don’t want to, but because they lack the basic digital skills that they need to do so. This lack of digital capability means that they are unable to do many of the tasks that the rest of us take for granted, such as sending a message through social media, applying for a job online, paying bills using an app, or even checking the train timetable online.

Go ON Croydon is a 12-month partnership initiative that will change this for those Croydon residents.

Go ON UK, the UK’s digital skills charity, has joined forces with Croydon Council to develop and launch an ambitious programme of activities to increase the level of basic digital skills across the borough. Together, we will pilot a series of innovative and creative projects that will encourage local residents and organisations to get online and improve their confidence and digital skills. The launch is the first of two year-long digital skills programmes in London that are acting as test beds to develop new approaches to help digitally excluded groups.

Why digital skills?

The internet is fast becoming an integral part of daily life, whether we use it at work, in our social lives, or to interact with public services. But too many people are being left behind because they don’t have the skills to use it effectively. We want to improve the lives of Croydon residents by showing them how they can benefit from gaining better digital skills and embracing technology, for example to save time and money, to improve their social inclusion, to better manage their health and well-being or simply to take part in leisure activities. We hope that those who haven’t used the internet before will give it a go and discover a wealth of new opportunities online through Go ON Croydon.

What will happen in Croydon?

We are working closely with our Go ON UK Board partners, Croydon Council, and a wide range of other local organisations including Croydon College, Jobcentre Plus, Croydon Tech City, Croydon MIND, Happus, Boxpark, the Citizens Advice Bureau, L&Q Housing, LBS Older Peoples’ Services and many more. All of these organisations have made specific commitments to help improve basic digital skills across the borough. They have also signed our Digital Skills Charter, making a public pledge to help colleagues, customers and the local community to gain these skills. If you’re part of a community group or organisation, you can sign our Digital Skills Charter too.

Digital Zones will be set up across the borough to help residents, charities and businesses to understand more about the benefits of digital skills. Digital Zones offer a local, friendly destination for individuals to learn these skills. These spaces will be found in a variety of branch, store and community outlets across the Croydon borough throughout the next twelve months. Lloyds Banking Group opened the first two digital zones on Thursday 12th November in their two Croydon town centre branches. A Digital Zone is also now available in Croydon Access Centre.

In addition, we are running a series of detailed projects to help specific groups gain the skills they need. These projects are supported by a broad range of partners, and will be used to identify new approaches that can be replicated and scaled across the UK.

Go ON Local beta, our online community toolkit, will be used throughout the programme to encourage people to connect, share and promote best practice, and to report progress. Please do join in and let us know what you’re doing to help.

How can I get involved?

If everyone reading this article helped just two people gain basic digital skills then together we would make a real impact on thousands of people’s lives across Croydon. To find out how you can get involved in Go ON Croydon visit www.go-on.co.uk/croydon.

Not in Croydon?

Visit www.go-on.co.uk to find out more about how you can get involved in your local area and join Go ON Local Beta to help people and organisations get the basic digital skills they need.

Rachel Neaman

Rachel Neaman

Rachel is Chief Executive of Go ON UK, the cross-sector digital skills charity that works to ensure all individuals, small businesses and charities in the UK have the basic digital skills they need. She is also Chair of the Digital Leaders programme (http://digitalleaders.co.uk/), a network of digital professionals from a range of sectors and disciplines. Rachel was previously Digital Leader and Head of Profession for Digital at the UK Department of Health. Before joining the UK civil service Rachel worked in the private sector in marketing and digital communications. Rachel is a regular speaker at conferences and seminars in the UK and abroad, a frequent judge of digital awards and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA).

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  • Robert Ward

    Excellent project which has the potential to change people’s lives for the better by opening up access to a group sorely in need of it. I would encourage Tech entrepreneurs to look to this group as a new market.