Westminster's Digital inclusion framework

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Presentation by Hadriana Evans and Irene McWilliams of Westminster City Council on how they are supporting the Big Society with their Digital Inclusion Framework as part of the government's Race Online 2012 campaign and also how Training For Life's partnership involvement in building and maintaining the Westminster in Touch website fits into this

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  • Thank you for inviting us to present Westminster’s Digital Inclusion Framework
  • Westminster is known mainly for its famous landmarks such as Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament. However, there are also areas of deprivation and diverse communities.
  • Westminster City Council is supporting Race Online 2012 to get all Westminster residents online by 2012. There are 3 main initiatives supported by Cllr Melvyn Caplan, Westminster’s Digital Champion: Community Computers; IT Support Forum and the Westminster InTouch website.
  • Community Computers was the first of the digital inclusion initiatives which we undertook at WCC as part of Westminster’s Living City Programme. The scheme was set up in order for the council to recycle its old and redundant equipment to benefit the voluntary sector and charities. It was established in May 2009 and has exceeded the first year target of 250 by donating 300 computers and extending the scheme to Westminster residents on low income and deaf and disabled people, along with registered charities serving Westminster residents. This is a self funding scheme with no cost to the beneficiaries and efficiency savings for the council. Local businesses and agencies are being approached to donate their computers to the scheme, both Primary Care Trust and City of London have already participated. The computers are cleansed for security and loaded with MS Office 2003 and the scheme has reached over 15,000 Westminster residents through voluntary organisations. An example of this is the London Jesus Centre, Homeless Shelter which received 5 computers in Sept 09. The number of weekly users to the drop-in centre has increased from 22 to 45 and does not include the new web design classes or 1-1 IT tuition.
  • These are some examples of voluntary organisations benefiting from the scheme. These include Homeless Centres and Drug Rehabilitation Centres working with people who find attendance on regular training courses a challenge. There are also After School, Job Seekers and Silver Surfer Clubs within many of the diverse communities within Westminster. There have been 17 IT suites created and the computers are being used for IT training, job seeking, language skills, media skills and art programmes, as well as keeping in touch with family and friends.
  • The Agape After School Club received 15 computers. On my original visit the children were crowded around these little tables. They were obviously inadequate especially for the older children. The club were able to create an IT suite in the room adjacent and the children’s happy faces shows they were well received and have greatly benefited the children’s schoolwork and exam preparation.
  • When we started the Community Computer scheme we had no idea that this would lead to us facilitating an IT Support Forum for the voluntary sector in Westminster. We were happily supplying refurbished computers to the charities but we were not in a position to offer IT support to those who might have needed it. So, through the extensive contacts we had established through the Community Computer scheme we identified that there was a wealth of knowledge and self help which could benefit the charities and organisations in Westminster. Some of the charities are very small and have limited access to IT support whilst some of the larger charities have significant resources and capability. The IT Support Forum has brought together these organisations facilitated by us at Westminster and has given IT organisations such as iT4Communities and LASA a platform to offer their services to the voluntary organisations. It has also provided a forum for discussion and exchange of information between the voluntary organisations and in some instances a sharing of resources. Another benefit of the IT Forum was realised when Westminster Works spoke at the June meeting and provided CVs of experienced people seeking work experience resulting in placements. The measure of success is in the request for more meetings and enthusiastic discussion and networking.
  • Finally, Westminster’s Information Services took an innovative approach to the use of technology to tackle digital exclusion and formed a partnership with Training for Life to develop the Westminster InTouch website. This has been created through open source software. It was recognised that support agencies, residents and voluntary organisations would benefit from a central information point to access information about IT training and resources within Westminster. A poster has been created for Westminster residents who are not online to contact someone for assistance. Partnerships have been formed with businesses and this area will be explored further. The success of the website can be measured by the number of voluntary organisations registering their details on the Information Directory and the number of visitors to the site. An official launch will take place on Tuesday, 2 nd November hosted by Cllr Caplan, Westminster’s Digital Champion. This will be an opportunity for local businesses to meet with voluntary organisations and explore how they can help Westminster residents get online.
  • We see that what we have done so far is just the start of the journey to getting Westminster residents online by the end of 2012. We hope through the launch of Westminster InTouch that the digital inclusion agenda will be highlighted within Westminster and that local businesses will support the voluntary organisations in their work. We believe that the framework that we have created can be replicated across other councils to benefit their residents. We have already been contacted by other councils and are sharing our experiences and schemes. Race Online 2012 is promoting our initiatives on their website and we hope other councils and businesses will approach us to find out more about our schemes.
  • Westminster's Digital inclusion framework

    1. 1. Westminster’s Digital Inclusion Framework 1st October 2010
    2. 2. <ul><li>Irene McWilliams </li></ul><ul><li>Partnership Development Officer </li></ul><ul><li>Information Services </li></ul><ul><li>Westminster City Council </li></ul><ul><li>Hadriana Evans </li></ul><ul><li>IT Services Manager </li></ul><ul><li>Training for Life </li></ul>
    3. 3. <ul><li>245,000 residents </li></ul><ul><li>75% of population of working age </li></ul><ul><li>11% of population over 65 years </li></ul><ul><li>50% of ‘deprived’ population live in 5 wards. </li></ul><ul><li>21% of households contain at least one disabled person </li></ul><ul><li>Arab and Chinese main ethnic groups </li></ul><ul><li>All in 8.5 sq miles </li></ul>City of Westminster
    4. 4. Westminster’s Digital Inclusion Framework
    5. 5. Community Computers
    6. 6. Examples of Voluntary Organisations benefiting from Community Computers Abrar Foundation Eritrean Cultural Support Group Westminster Befriend A Family Paddington Arts St John's Wood Adventure Playground Pursuing Independent Paths Already reached upwards of 15,000 residents Westminster Drug Project, DIP UCanDoIT Nutrition Society Women's Consortium The RAIN Trust DreamArts London Jesus Centre
    7. 7. Agape After School Club – December 2009
    8. 10. <ul><li>Cllr Melvyn Caplan currently the Cabinet member for finance and resources and chief whip of the Conservative group on the council. </li></ul><ul><li>Melvyn has just retired from IBM where he worked for almost 25 years. </li></ul><ul><li>Melvyn will ensure the Digital Inclusion Framework is integrated into the Council Leader’s “Building a Living City” programme. </li></ul><ul><li>Westminster will support Race Online 2012’s Manifesto for a Networked Nation and the Government’s belief that digital engagement can help build a Big Society. </li></ul>Westminster Digital Champion
    9. 11. The Way Forward <ul><li>Launch event of Westminster InTouch – 2 nd November 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage larger organisations to donate their equipment for recycling </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage diverse communities to share resources and network </li></ul><ul><li>Extend networks across London </li></ul><ul><li>Share digital inclusion framework nationally across other councils </li></ul>

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