#FightTheDivide West

Yesterday we had our second #FightTheDivide event attended by West Leeds organisations working to fight social and digital exclusion. Leeds City Council staff from Adults and Health, Communities and Environment, and Housing, as well as third sector organisations such as Age UK, Engage Leeds, OPAL and Leeds Irish Health and Homes came along to find out more about how we can work together to reach the least engaged and help people live better, easier and longer lives.  If you’re reading this and would have liked to have attended, there’s still time to book onto our third and final event happening on Monday 15th October in Middleton.

Barriers: what’s stopping us?

We asked our audience to identify the main barriers to digital inclusion in their communities:


As expected, many of the answers reflected the three identified barriers – access, skills and confidence, and motivation – as well as additional obstacles such as literacy and language.

Our approach: #JoinTheMovement

Attendees heard from the 100% Digital Leeds team about how digital inclusion was a key part of Leeds City Council’s Best Council Plan and Inclusive Growth Strategy, and what that meant at ground-level to organisations wanting to join the movement and take advantage of our tablet lending scheme and receive digital champion training. Fran Coleman – Head of Digital Inclusion at the Good Things Foundation – told the crowd about the benefits of joining the Online Centres Network – increased visibility, national advocacy, training, access to funding – and the e-learning platforms Learn My Way and English My Way for ESOL students.DpJpNqhXUAAT-dH

Next up was Mick Howard from Armley Helping Hands – a neighbourhood network scheme supporting older people in West Leeds – who told us about why social inclusion through digital was a priority for his organisation and how the tablets he had borrowed from us had helped some of their 1000+ members.  He shared stories of some of their members’ learning journeys and told us that they have decided to invest in some tablets of their own to make their digital inclusion work sustainable – a great way to build capacity within the organisation.


After a short break, everyone participated in roundtable discussions where groups shared ideas on how they could incorporate tablet lending, digital champions and the Online Centres Network within their organisation.  People then committed to adopting these approaches by pledging to do one thing to boost digital inclusion – and we’ll be in touch to find out how they’re doing in a few months’ time.

#Try1Thing: Creative digital

Get Online Week is next week, so we brought along some creative tech to show attendees some of the weird and wonderful ways you can engage reluctant learners with digital.  Participants could have a go on a play-dough piano using a Makey Makey circuit board, play a game of Rock Paper Scissors with a BBC micro:bit, or try their hand at navigating a maze using a Sphero device with an iPad. We added further tech to the sessions with Kahoot quizzes.

Outcomes: moving forward

Attendees told us how much they had enjoyed the event and that it was good to know that there was a team out there who could advise and support their digital inclusion initiatives. We’ll be keeping the organisations aware of our work and the ways in which they can get involved; we’ll also be holding future network meetings for West Leeds organisations to get together, share their work and build a positive movement for digital across their communities.