Since its formation in April 2018, the DigiKnow alliance to support digitally excluded residents in Stockport gain online skills has supported over 8000 people in the borough.
DigiKnow was established by Stockport Council in partnership with the Good Things Foundation, the UK’s leading digital inclusion delivery organisation. In a report on the project’s first two years, it revealed that 8,425 people have been supported, surpassing the organisation’s target of 5,000. The target to recruit 30 network partners has also been exceeded.
Councillor Kate Butler, Cabinet Member for Citizen Focus and Engagement says:
We recognised from the outset that those who are digitally excluded are often also socially excluded, so by building digital skills in community settings that are already trusted by these residents, there is more chance they will be open to new learning and skills. Thanks to our libraries, community groups and Digital Champions almost 8,500 more residents can now use digital to stay connected and make the most of all the information and services available online.”
The DigiKnow digital inclusion initiative is unique in the UK, due to its alliance of local stakeholders and the coordination of local activity.
During lockdown we have seen more motivation to get online, as people who weren’t interested before now view being online as essential rather than optional. Whether to complete school work, order shopping online, find out information or keep up with family, digital is the answer every time and we are doing all we can to help people access the internet and ensure no-one gets left behind.”
Whilst Good Things Foundation’s involvement in the network has now come to an end, the council is working with Starting Point, a local DigiKnow network member, to expand the network further, recruit and train more Digital Champions, and reach new groups of residents who don’t have digital skills but would like to learn.
Photograph taken before Covid-19 pandemic and any social distancing restriction.