Whilst the 100% Digital Leeds team are not coproduction experts, we believe that our approach to digital inclusion has the spirit of coproduction at its foundation. 100% Digital Leeds are facilitators. The approaches we advocate and resources we provide are informed by our knowledge of common barriers to digital inclusion but we understand that everyone’s digital inclusion journey is different. The reasons for being offline, the motivators for doing more, and the support needed to make the most of digital are always unique, whether we’re thinking about an organisation or an individual. Often 100% Digital Leeds are navigating both of these paths as we look to engage an organisation with digital inclusion so that they can in turn engage the individuals they support. There is never one set solution and our approach is to help partners work out where they would like to be. Then we support them as they navigate that path, overcoming obstacles where they appear, and sticking with them until they reach their goal.
The 100% Digital Leeds approach:
The fundamental principles of the 100% Digital Leeds approach are:
- Convening community based assets to ensure that no-one is ‘hard to reach’;
- Working flexibly and responsively;
- Moving to a whole system approach that enables people to independently look after themselves and improve their lives;
- Connecting people to their communities and a wider circle of care and support;
- Co-designing the right interventions with professionals and practitioners, staff and volunteers and people with lived experience.
First we listen, then we learn, then we use our knowledge, resources, and connections to support the design of a way forward. We bring people together from different organisations and different sectors based on common interests or barriers so that they can share their experiences and learn from each other. Everything we do is designed to give organisations the knowledge, confidence and freedom to develop their own signature approach, weaving digital into their day-to-day activities in a way that benefits everyone: the organisation, its clients, and in turn, the city.
Support and resources from 100% Digital Leeds:
Support from 100% Digital Leeds can include the provision of data, equipment and devices, grant funding, technical support, Digital Champions training, signposting to existing statistics, reports and toolkits, encouraging mutually beneficial partnerships and knowledge sharing, and advice on how to tackle digital inclusion issues in a way that works for different organisations.
Our Tablet Lending Scheme gives partners the freedom to develop, test, and learn, with minimum risk. We provide organisations with free to borrow equipment and connectivity so they don’t have to commit their own resource before they have worked out what’s right for them. Borrowing tablets helps partners demonstrate need, find the right approach, and measure its impact, coming away with a clearer understanding of where resource is needed and a rationale for that commitment.
Our Digital Champion training helps an organisation’s staff and volunteers come together to better understand the shared barriers of their client base and advocates for an individualised approach. We celebrate how relationships with clients help staff to understand their particular needs, barriers, and motivations, using each of these to find a way forward. We signpost staff to accessible tools and resources that will help them to develop their skills and confidence and overcome barriers in a way that fosters independence, and we encourage them to take the same approach with clients.
Digital inclusion co-production in practice:
This approach and these resources were shown to good effect in our Dementia Pathfinder project as part of the NHS Widening Digital Participation programme, focusing on improving the lives of people living with dementia. The intention was to trial new ways to use digital and connectivity to support people living with dementia, their families and carers.
We brought together:
- Memory Support Workers who have contact with people living with dementia and their carers on a day to day basis,
- Staff and volunteers who spend time supporting carers and people living with dementia at weekly/monthly gatherings and
- Dementia carers.
We gave them equipment and digital skills training to explore how technology could play a part in improving the lives of people living with dementia. Their experiences fed in to the development of a toolkit made available to other agencies looking to embed digital inclusion into their approach when supporting people living with dementia.
Read the full report to learn about more the approach and the difference the project has made,