Partner profile: Ascendance

Ascendance is a Leeds-based charity working in the Dance for Health sector, combining professional work with a community dance company, weekly classes and outreach projects. Ascendance’s mission is to provide exercise, creative and performance opportunities for individuals with neurodisabilities and those over 55, improving physical and mental wellbeing, coordination, balance and social cohesion. Ascendance is committed to supporting the digital inclusion of participants. The organisation is a member of the Arts and Culture Digital Inclusion Network and has worked with 100% Digital Leeds to embed digital inclusion throughout their service. Most recently Ascendance has been awarded £195,992 from The National Lottery Community Fund for a new digital inclusion programme, ‘No One Left Behind’.

“The class is my only contact with others living with Parkinson’s. That’s a really important part of my coping mechanism.”


Hybrid programming to support arts participation and combat social isolation

Ascendance’s interest in digital work was sparked during the pandemic with the desire to combat the isolation that many of its participants faced through staying at home.

In 2021, the organisation launched a series of hybrid creative classes and performances with their Parkinson’s groups which attracted people from across Yorkshire. The programme supported members who were unable to join face-to-face sessions to use Zoom to engage with the programme online. 70% of participants were supported to engage with the programme and, at the peak of the pandemic, the number of workshops was increased from one session per week to five.

The performance of Part 1: “Into the Sea”, included the first ever hybrid set up at Leeds City Museum as part of World Disability Day. Parts of this project led them to create “HYBRID – The Film”, a documentary by Flygirl Films capturing creative journeys in people’s homes.

HYBRID the film

Even after the lifting of lockdown and the return to face-to-face programming, Ascendance has continued to offer remote programming, recognising that people can find their digital offer more accessible than their ‘in person’ workshops for a number of reasons. Ascendance currently offers a weekly Zoom dance session which is free to join, and is attended by regulars as well as those who generally attend sessions face-to-face but aren’t able to that week because of their health or any other change of circumstance. Their online neuro dance sessions help people with Parkinson’s, MS and other neurological conditions stay active for longer, delay progression of symptoms, develop new neuropathways
from the mind to the body and help improve balance, coordination and flexibility.

Supporting digital inclusion for care homes

Ascendance has contributed digital content to a number of initiatives using digital methods to reach care home residents who could not otherwise participate in creative dance activity, and supporting digital inclusion. The organisation has run online sessions for Leeds Care Delivery Service as part of the service’s ‘Wellbeing Wednesdays’ programme.

In to the Garden video

Ascendance contributed a digital resource to Creative Ageing Treasury of Leeds – a free activity book created by Leeds Arts Health and Wellbeing Network and partners, full of creative things to do by and with older people. It contains 15 step-by-step arts activities contributed by artists and organisations who deliver outstanding work for, by and with older people.

Ascendance ran an online workshop as part of the city’s Arts in Care Homes 2023 programme, a week-long programme of free creative workshops aimed at care home residents in celebration of The National Day of Arts in Care Homes, a national event that takes place each year. 14 arts organisations hosted a total of 24 workshops over the course of five days with the aim of highlighting the ways that care settings can utilise digital to engage with the city’s arts sector and increase arts participation for care residents.

“It was good to be involved in a wider event which enabled us to market our provision and see who else are working in the sector. We would like to extend our zoom provision in the future and this gives us confidence that there is a demand to keep moving forward with our digital at home programme. Joined up working means that we can involve more people in our online work, and have more impact regionally and nationally.”

No One Left Behind programme

Ascendance has recently been celebrating after being awarded £195,992 over 3 years in funding from The National Lottery Community Fund to build on existing digital programmes and innovate further within the dance and digital arena. Their project, ‘No One Left Behind’ aims to engage more people with neurodisabilities (such as Parkinson’s and MS), across a variety of settings, and address the growing digital divide the older community is facing, especially in areas with little or no in-person provision.

‘No One Left Behind’ will see a series of existing and new initiatives including zoom classes, digital training for the older community, outreach programmes and a digital dance, arts, and wellbeing festival.

The project aims to engage and benefit more people with neurodisabilities to:

  • participate in physical and creative dance activity that will support physical and mental wellbeing and help to delay the progression of their disease.
  • learn how to effectively and safely navigate digital spaces, so that they may access more online.
  • give opportunities to positively showcase their abilities and talents to a wider public audience.

“The energy and personality of Ascendance comes from the profiles of its heroes, Rachel and Emma, who make it possible for us Parkinson’s patients to navigate issues of social isolation through contemporary dance.”

Shafik, Participant

Working in partnership with Leeds Community Foundation and the city’s tech sector

100% Digital Leeds is working with Leeds Community Foundation and the city’s tech sector to increase the amount of funding and resource available to build the capacity of third sector partners and increase digital inclusion for people and communities across Leeds.

Leeds Digital Ball

The Leeds Digital Ball is an annual charity event to raise money from digital and technology companies in the city. The charity ball organisers are made up of a board of members and advisors from across the Leeds region who came together as a collective to help represent the local tech community in supporting digitally excluded communities and driving positive change. The inaugural Ball took place in 2022 and saw £50,000 raised and donated to Leeds Digital Inclusion Fund. The fund supports the ongoing development of the city’s digital inclusion infrastructure across the third sector.

Leeds Digital Inclusion Fund

100% Digital Leeds worked with Leeds Community Foundation (LCF) to develop the Leeds Digital Inclusion Fund, a permanent grant funding stream administered by LCF in partnership with 100% Digital Leeds. The 100% Digital Leeds team worked with LCF to write the funding criteria and grant application process for charities to bid into the fund. The fund supports community organisations in the development of sustainable digital inclusion interventions enhancing the organisations’ core offers, ensuring that people and communities in Leeds have the skills, support and equipment to be active online, now and in the future. The 100% Digital Leeds team is represented on the judging panel and offer support to successful applicants to implement their digital inclusion plans.

“We find it so valuable to work with 100% Digital Leeds. Their knowledge of community organisations, and the practical support and advice they offer, is helping to make Leeds a more digitally inclusive place for everyone who lives here. This makes them the perfect partner for Leeds Community Foundation and our work around digital inclusion.

Kate Hainsworth, Chief Executive, Leeds Community Foundation

The initial funding pot of £50,000 was made up of funds raised by the Leeds Digital Ball. In August 2022 five grants of £10,000 were awarded to charities who have used the money to increase or enhance their digital inclusion offer.

Between them the five funded organisations support a range of people and communities more likely to be digitally excluded:

  • Your Back Yard received funding to expand their well-established digital and social inclusion offer for older people. Using the funding to employ a dedicated outreach worker, purchase more tablets and data, and recruit more volunteers, enabling them to deliver more sessions in Headingly and Holt Park.
  • Smart Works received funding to embed digital skills and access support in their work supporting women to enter and re-enter the workplace by helping clients with workwear, confidence-building and coaching for job interviews.
  • Highrise Project received funding to support the embedding of digital inclusion into their existing creative skills and mentoring offer for people in Armley, including the purchase of equipment.
  • Meanwood Valley Urban Farm received funding to support them to build digital elements into their HOOF (Help Out On the Farm) group.  The HOOF group is a group of people with learning disabilities who learn new skills, work with animals and improve their health and wellbeing in a variety of settings at the farm.
  • Burmantofts Senior Action received funding to build upon their existing digital inclusion offer and expand outreach within the community by employing an Outreach Worker and establishing a tech-lending library and data-gifting service.

Plans for 2023

Press has begun for this Leeds Digital Ball which will take place on 11th May 2023 at the Royal Armouries. Tickets are now on sale.

100% Digital Leeds is working with Leeds Community Foundation to develop the next round of the grants scheme, with the fund due to be announced in early Summer of this year.

Leeds arts in care homes digital inclusion programme

In September 2022 100% Digital Leeds and the Arts and Culture Digital Inclusion Network curated a week-long programme of free creative workshops aimed at care home residents in celebration of The National Day of Arts in Care Homes, a national event that takes place each year.

The programme aims to:

  • highlight the ways that care settings can utilise digital to engage with the city’s arts sector and increase arts participation for care residents.
  • make new and lasting connections between individual care settings and arts organisations in the city.
  • support the improved digital skills and confidence of staff and residents in care settings.
  • support improved arts participation for care audiences.

14 arts organisations hosted a total of 24 workshops over the course of five days. Over 20 locations providing care engaged with the series, with many attending multiple workshops. Some virtual workshops were attended by as many as 10 different care settings. The programme included interactive workshops on music, dance, embroidery, and more, delivered by organisations such as Opera North, Ascendance, and Hyde Park Picture House, incorporating such activities as movement, games, and reminiscence.

“13 residents took part in the workshop with Opera North and described it as ‘different, fun, and informative’. It was easy to join online and we’d be keen to attend similar workshops in the future.”

Seacroft Grange Village

Utilising digital to support arts and culture participation

Participation in the programme enabled arts organisations to engage with audiences in care settings who would find it difficult to visit arts venues by connecting with audiences virtually.

“It was really lovely to be able to deliver a fun, musical session to people we may not otherwise reach – it gave us the opportunity to showcase our offer and engage those who are not able to come and visit us in person, which is great!”

Leeds Libraries

A study on The Impact of Arts and Cultural Engagement on Population Health published by UCL in March of this year explored whether there are differences in how arts participation affects people who engage with in-person arts activities compared to virtual or online activities, with virtual engagement found to be only marginally less effective.

The programme supported care settings in offering residents a range of sessions on different art forms in a relatively short space of time, allowing residents more freedom of choice. Some care settings engaged with five or more workshops over the course of the programme.

“Our Care Home loved the Zoom session today, and we’re going to try the ballet tomorrow!”

Aireview Care Home

The Baring Foundation published report Every Care Home A Creative Home makes the case for residents in care being able to access creativity and culture whenever they want, with content being relevant and person-centred, linked to individuals’ needs, interests, and preferences. The report points out that, ‘realistically, this means access to digital channels and tools.’

Much of the programme was made up of ongoing activity that is available all year round but is not generally accessed by care residents. Taking part in the programme meant that arts organisations could connect with a wider range of care settings to promote their offer. In some instances, partnerships were formed that are ongoing. It helped arts organisations to appreciate the potential for further engagement with care settings should they continue to develop their virtual and digital offers.

“It was good to be involved in a wider event which enabled us to market our provision. We would like to extend our Zoom provision in the future and this work has given us confidence that there is a demand to keep moving forward with our Digital at Home programme.”


Supporting improved digital inclusion for care residents and staff

“Some attention has been paid to the relative lack of digital technology and connectivity in care homes. There is no question that digital tools will become ever more important in a whole series of ways in care homes, including for arts and creativity.”

Baring Foundation, 2022

With growing technological advancements, it is increasingly important that care settings have the access to equipment and connectivity, and staff have the required digital skills and confidence to engage with the digital world. This programme gave care staff the opportunity to develop their skills and confidence and understand the ease and practicality of using digital tools to bring external activity into care settings, thereby supporting the 100% Digital Leeds priority of developing digital inclusion in care home settings.

Each of the workshops in this programme had a digital element with the majority being delivered virtually over Zoom. Poor digital infrastructure in care settings was a barrier to engagement, with some settings struggling to engage and others being unable to engage at all. Some care settings lacked the equipment to engage with the programme and whilst some were able to invest in equipment such as a tablet or HDMI cable, others were not able to. Poor or no connectivity meant some care settings were unable to engage with the programme or to experience the programme fully.

“There were some connectivity issues at two of the care settings and they had to re-join a couple of times and then keep their cameras off, so it was difficult to tell how the session was being received.”

Leeds Libraries

Staff’s digital skills and confidence was also a barrier to engagement. For some it was the first time they had used Zoom to support residents to participate with external programming. While some care settings found joining a virtual session a straightforward process, some did struggle, and more support to develop staff digital skills and confidence is needed.

The initial technical support required to set up the connection to the Zoom session as a barrier for some care staff”

RJC Dance

More support is also needed to improve staff’s and residents’ confidence in engaging with the features of Zoom, such as the Chat function, to get the most out of the session.

“The difficulty in connecting with people watching is that if they did not respond to the chat then it was hard to gauge which parts they were enjoying.  Our experience of the last few years is that this is very dependent on the ability of the person managing the tech at the home. The care settings who logged on stayed right until the end, so they must have enjoyed watching it!”


A small number of workshops were delivered face-to-face in care settings, incorporating digital tools into the session. These sessions appeared to have the most benefit on the digital inclusion of individual care residents as arts practitioners were able to directly engage with individual residents and take a person-centred approach to introducing digital to them.

“Victor hadn’t previously been interested but after talking to him I learned that he was interested in how to watch different channels in his room, so I showed him how to use iPlayer. He really enjoyed watching Frozen Planet 2 with subtitles, as he is hard of hearing. As a result the staff said he would be able to borrow the iPads they have at the home.”

Leeds Libraries, about a resident at Knowle Manor

Plans for 2023

Both care settings and arts organisations are keen for the programme to return this year. The cross-sector steering group has been brought back together to take this forward and launch events are planned for May, coinciding with Creativity and Wellbeing Week, Dementia Action, and Age of Creativity Festival month.

100% Digital Leeds is partnering with Yorkshire Dance and other Arts and Culture Digital Inclusion Network partners to develop an arts and creativity event for Care Homes Activity Coordinators. This will be a practical and engaging face-to-face session highlighting the offers of the city’s arts organisations and will launch the September programme to care staff.

We will also host a webinar aimed at arts organisations interested in contributing to the programme. This will share key information about the offer and process, including highlighting potential funding opportunities for arts organisations.

“Participants described our workshop as “cheering,” “invigorating,” and “a real tonic. Thank you for championing the use of digital with the elders, I hope this can be a regular initiative in the city.”

RJC Dance

For more information or to get involved with our plans for this year’s programme contact us.

Supporting families with young children

100% Digital Leeds has been working with organisations supporting families with young children to embed digital inclusion in their offers. Working with Children’s Centres, and the 0-19 Public Health Integrated Nursing Service (Health Visiting and School Nursing) within Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust (LCH), has helped us to understand the impact of digital exclusion on families with young children.

“Giving out phones and data has been a massive success for us, not only being able to give something to families that struggle on a daily basis with the cost of living but enabling them to make regular contact with services. We are keen to empower families and this really helps. Something so small really can make a difference to someone’s life.”

Elkie Jones, Family Outreach Worker

The families most likely to be digitally excluded have been found to be those on low incomes, often single parents with multiple young children, unable to work and reliant on benefits. Lack of connectivity is the main barrier to digital inclusion, with a large proportion of families living with data poverty, unable to afford wifi and reliant on ‘pay as you go’ data, the most expensive way to buy data. For some families that do have access to a device such as a smartphone, one device is shared by the family, often leaving the mother without reliable access.

This can leave families without the ability to self-manage essentials such as Universal Credit or access support services for help. Women who are victims of domestic violence are often the most digitally excluded and those most negatively affected by that exclusion, left unable to make emergency calls to the police when incidents are happening, having to wait until they drop the children at nursery or see an outreach worker.

“I was in a violent and abusive relationship. When my ex-partner moved out I was left with no access to a phone so I was unable contact anyone for help. Since being gifted a phone with data I’ve been able to call services and text the Family Support Worker. I’ve been able to find a nursery place for my two-year-old.”

Parent supported by a Family Support Worker

Children’s Centres

Over the last year 100% Digital Leeds has worked with staff at Children’s Centres in the Gipton and Beeston areas of the city to understand the impact of digital exclusion on some of the families they support, and to put the relevant digital inclusion support in place.

Family Support Workers were provided with a small number of smartphones to gift to digitally excluded families, via Hubbub’s Community Calling project. They were also supported to join the Good Things Foundation’s National Databank, giving them the opportunity to gift free 4G data, calls, and texts, to families struggling with data poverty.

“It’s great to see the women we have been supporting become independent. Mums are able to contact us when they need support and don’t have to wait until their partner is home or they are allowed out of the home to get that support.”

Lisa Holliday, Senior Family Outreach Worker

Having access to digital devices and data has helped parents be more independent, reducing reliance on, and freeing up the capacity of, Family Support Workers. Families supported with connectivity have been able to work independently to:

  • look after their finances by managing their Universal Credit and using online banking
  • manage their health and wellbeing, and that of their families, by being able to make medial appointments and calls to Leeds Domestic Violence Service in private
  • manage their housing by bidding on social properties and reporting repairs
  • access learning and development by attending online learning sessions

“As a single parent of two small children, one who is undergoing assessment for autism, having access to a phone and credit has made such a difference to me. Being given my own phone with access to the internet means I can now access my Universal Credit without having to wait to use my sister’s phone all the time.”

Parent supported by a Family Support Worker

Families supported with connectivity being able to be more independent has meant the capacity of Family Support Workers has been freed up to support other families in need of help. Family Support Workers report previously having spent time visiting parents at home only for them to not be available, or not in a position to to be able to accept help at that time because of an abusive partner, a situation that couldn’t be clarified before visiting as the parent was uncontactable because of a lack of device or data. As well as the Family Support Worker being able to check in with the parent before visiting, being given the necessary device or data has allowed the parent to contact the Family Support Worker and other services when they need help, allowing them to proactively access the right support for them at the right time.

“Thank you so much for the data code. It’s meant I’ve been able to call the perinatal mental health team and arrange a different appointment for my anxiety and depression. With four children, all of us in a one-bed flat, being able to keep in touch with people makes such a difference to me.”

Parent supported by a Family Support Worker

Both Family Service Teams involved in the pilot have identified a need for equipment to be made available for use by families visiting their Centres, as well as for Family Support Workers to use to support people in home. Tablets have been loaned by Leeds Libraries to trial this and funding is being identified to support the provision of equipment in the long term.

Baby Bubble Leeds

100% Digital Leeds is working with the 0-19 Public Health Integrated Nursing Service (Health Visiting and School Nursing) within Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust (LCH) and Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust (LTHT) Midwifery Service to support the development of Baby Bubble Leeds, an initiative to access support and information from health professionals using closed, moderated Facebook groups. Baby Bubble Leeds is due to be officially launched in March.

“Digital health access is increasingly becoming an option across all aspects of the NHS. With this comes the necessity to ensure that we support people to overcome digital exclusion and digital poverty.”

Amanda Jackson, LCH 0-19 Clinical Team Manager and project co-lead.

Baby Bubble is aimed at supporting women who typically find accessing health services challenging, and face health inequalities as a result. Recognising the importance of sharing key public health messages and personalised advice through different methods, the scheme utilises Facebook as a digital platform already used by the women the service is aimed at, and one they feel comfortable with. As well as the current service offers of face-to-face contact, this ensures that all families have the best start and improve their health outcomes.

100% Digital Leeds is working with LCH to ensure that the project is as inclusive as possible, recognising that whilst the women the project is aimed at may find it useful to engage with health services digitally, they are also likely to face some barriers to engaging with digital. Clinicians will receive digital inclusion awareness training so they are in a position to identify the following barriers and offer support:

  • Data poverty: LCH has signed up to the National Databank, allowing clinicians to gift 4G data.
  • Digital skills: Clinicians will also be able to support women with the fundamentals of setting up an email account and Facebook account where necessary, and can signpost those who need additional support to Children’s Centres or their local Digital Health Hub.
  • eSafety: Through 100% Digital Leeds’s partnership with Three clinicians will be trained in how to moderate the Facebook groups and support parents to use Facebook and other social media safely.

“Through Baby Bubble Leeds we will provide practical advice and information not only on health-related topics, but also the tools and support to enable women to be digitally enabled in all aspects of their lives.”

Amanda Jackson, LCH 0-19 Clinical Team Manager and project co-lead.

Partner profile: Belle Isle Senior Action

Belle Isle Senior Action (BISA) is a Neighbourhood Network organisation based in South Leeds, supporting older people living in the Belle Isle area. They provide a range of services and activities aimed at older adults, including luncheon clubs, exercise classes, and social sessions. 

During the Covid-19 pandemic Belle Isle Senior Action found many members were becoming more socially isolated, and this was negatively affecting their mental health. Many members didn’t have a digital device and had never been online before. Through conversations with members they identified a need for members to develop their digital skills and confidence so they could stay in touch with each other and engage in virtual events and other social programming. 

Support from 100% Digital Leeds

In 2020 Belle Isle Senior Action partnered with 100% Digital Leeds to better understand the digital inclusion needs of their members and the potential digital inclusion support that could be put into place to meet those needs. Together we explored ways the organisation could build upon existing assets to provide inclusive and person-centred digital support inclusion support for their members in a way that was as sustainable as possible. 

“Working in partnership with 100% Digital Leeds and the Older People’s Digital Inclusion Network has been fantastic. It’s hard to imagine us as an organisation without this digital inclusion support now, as it’s such an integral part of our offer.” 

Sonny Garewal, CEO, Belle Isle Senior Action

Belle Isle Senior Action joined the Older Peoples Digital Inclusion Network to connect with other organisations delivering digital inclusion. This helped them to build their capacity for supporting the digital inclusion of their members and saw them develop a core digital inclusion offer embedded within their service. 

Working with local partners

Whilst Belle Isle Senior Action identified a real need and demand for digital inclusion support across their membership, they also identified organisational capacity as a barrier to them developing and delivering their digital inclusion offer. They overcame this barrier by building upon the organisation’s existing partnerships, to the mutual benefit of all partners involved.

Partnering with Belle Isle Tenant Management Organisation to increase capacity to deliver

Belle Isle Senior Action built upon their existing partnership with Belle Isle Tenant Management Organisation (BITMO), an organisation supporting social housing tenants of all ages in Belle Isle, to explore ways they could work together to improve digital inclusion for the Belle Isle community as a whole. Together they secured external funding which allowed for the recruitment of a digital inclusion worker to work across both organisations, increasing their joint capacity to develop a digital inclusion offer that meets the needs of the whole community, as well as to deliver digital skills support sessions across both sites.

Partnering with Middleton Elderly Aid to improve access to equipment

Many of Belle Isle Elderly Action’s members were identified as not having access to devices or connectivity. BISA partnered with Middleton Elderly Aid, an organisation supporting older people in a neighbouring area of the city, to identify and secure funding to purchase tablets, smartphones, and data which they could lend and gift to members without devices. They completed a single funding application and split the devices received across the two organisations. They pooled their knowledge and capacity to set up the devices for loan and implement a tablet lending scheme. They also acquired sims via Vodaphone’s Charities Connected scheme to gift to those struggling to pay for data. This expanded their offer and enabled so many older people within south Leeds to have access to a digital device and connectivity. 

Developing the digital inclusion offer

The newly recruited digital inclusion worker worked across both organisations to develop and deliver a digital inclusion support offer that met the needs of members of both organisations. By speaking to members they found out not all members were confident to attend skills sessions, so they developed a blended approach with a variety of digital inclusion support, to ensure the offer was accessible and inclusive for all. 

Group digital skills sessions

The digital inclusion worker developed a full weekly programme of digital skills sessions delivered across both sites. These sessions were themed around relevant topics such as help with using a device, exploring apps linked to hobbies and interests, and using digital to keep in touch with family and friends. 

“I really enjoy coming to the group sessions because it gets me out of the house for a while. I like to learn about the different things I can do on my tablet, such as looking at local bus stop times. I also enjoy using Learn My Way to learn more and more!”

Belle Isle Senior Action member

Embedding digital inclusion across the service

Though well attended, the group skills sessions only reached members already motivated to develop their digital skills and confidence, and motivation was identified as a barrier for many BISA members. The organisation expanded their digital support to be embedded into their lunch clubs, social sessions, and other activities happening across the building. This enabled members to develop their skills and confidence without attending a specific digital skills support session, giving them the opportunity to be introduced to the technology in an informal way. The digital inclusion worker started introducing tablets into the existing sessions and members were intrigued, they enjoyed learning more about the different things they could do online. Once motivated to develop their digital skills further, members were signposted to the group skills sessions.

“I like coming to the lunch club, I never thought I’d use a tablet and learn something new at my age! I have been telling everyone how good it is. I really enjoy the snooker app, I used to be so good at snooker, but I can’t play anymore – but I can play on the app now!”

Belle Isle Senior Action member

Supporting people at home

Offering digital inclusion support at the BISA centre meant the service wasn’t accessible to BISA’s less mobile members who struggle to get to community venues to access face-to-face support. As a result BISA explored ways to expand their offer and include digital inclusion support as part of their existing in-home support service. This included activities such as gardening, cleaning, and shopping, as well as befriending to increase social connections. The digital inclusion worker dedicated one day a week to delivering digital support at people’s homes as part of this service.

“Having Lisa visit me and help me use my phone has been a lifeline. I’ve ordered my prescriptions on the app, I play games which I enjoy, and I can video call my family.”

Belle Isle Senior Action member

Becoming a Digital Health Hub

Belle Isle Senior Action joined the Beeston and Middleton Digital Health Hub Network, a place-based approach to digital inclusion for improved health participation in partnership with 100% Digital Leeds and the Beeston and Middleton Local Care Partnership (LCP).

As a Digital Health Hub they have embedded digital health support into their skills sessions and at home support, theming content around issues like making and managing health service appointments, ordering repeat prescriptions, using systems like eConsult, and accessing information to support health and wellbeing.  They have partnered with Your Backyard and Active Leeds to allow members to access exercise classes over Zoom, a service which has helped to increased social connections as well as members’ physical fitness. Local GP Practices and health services can signpost local residents to these services.

Next steps

The funding for the digital inclusion worker developing and delivering digital inclusion support across BISA and BITMO comes to an end in April 2023. They are currently working with 100% Digital Leeds to explore funding opportunities to ensure their digital inclusion programme can continue as it’s making such an incredible impact in the community. 

“We are so grateful for the funding we have received. We have supported so many older people with digital, increasing their digital skills and confidence, and lots have taken their first steps online with our support. We are working hard to secure funding to ensure this essential work can continue.”

Sonny Garewal, CEO, Belle Isle Senior Action

Creative skills workshops with LEEDS 2023

100% Digital Leeds is excited to be working with LEEDS 2023 on a series of free digital skills workshops making creative software more accessible to Leeds communities. The workshops will support attendees to use a piece of free creative software to a beginner level. Learners will leave each workshop understanding the basics, enabling them to feel equipped to further explore the software’s functionality after the workshop and learners will be signposted to other free resources to continue their learning in their own time. This series sees the repeat of the four most popular workshops delivered as part of last year’s test and learn series.

“I have broken the fear of trying a new software so thank you. I am left with plenty of materials to practise on at home and cannot wait for the next workshop.”

Feedback from a previous workshop attendee.

There are four types of workshops in the series: sound editing, film editing, image editing, and live streaming. Each of these workshops will be repeated five times at different venues across the city: Moor Allerton Library, Hamara, Garforth Community Hub and Library, Horsforth Community Hub, and Morley Salvation Army.

Each of these community venues will host all four of the workshops in the series. Tickets are free and open to everyone aged 18 years and older. The workshop series is not a course: sessions should be booked on an individual basis and there is no expectation for learners to attend all four. Attendees will be expected to bring their own laptop to workshops.

“I was nervous that the session would be full of people that work in creative technology but such an interesting mix of people, professions, ages, and reasons for attending.”

Feedback from a previous workshop attendee.

Sound editing with Audacity

The software

Audacity is a free but incredibly powerful audio editing software that enables you to record your own music, podcasts and loads of other content.

The workshop content

Led by BBC Radio Leeds producer Dan Purvis, the workshop will talk you through all the basics of the software, from opening a project and adding sounds, to simple editing, adding effects and exporting your work to then be uploaded and shared to any platform you want. The workshops will cover all the basics to enable you to feel equipped to explore Audacity further after the workshops. Dan will also signpost to other free resources to continue learning the software in your own time.

The workshop dates, locations, and booking links

Please note, each of these workshops is an introduction to Audacity. The same content will be repeated at each workshop.

Image editing with GoDaddy Studio

The software

GoDaddy Studio is a free image editing platform which enables you to edit images for anything from presentations to social media.

The workshop content

Led by artist and marketing genius Lydia Cottrell, the workshop will talk you through all the basics of the software, from opening a project and adding images, to simple editing, adding effects and exporting your work to then be uploaded and shared to any platform you want. The workshops will cover all the basics to enable you to feel equipped to explore GoDaddy Studio further after the workshops. Lydia will also signpost to other free resources to continue learning the software in your own time.

The workshop dates, locations, and booking links

Please note, each of these workshops is an introduction to GoDaddy Studio. The same content will be repeated at each workshop.

Creative livestreaming with OBS

The software

OBS is a free livestreaming software for Mac and Windows that enables you to build unique creative streams. It allows you to do anything from making lower thirds and scroll bars for live news broadcasts, to having on-screen pop-ups during gigs to show the band name and song title. OBS allows live broadcasts to several popular streaming services including YouTube, Facebook Live, Twitch, Twitter, and Mixer with the built-in ability to stream to your own custom server as well.

The workshop content

Led by Ora Ataguba and Balie Ali from Sable Radio, the workshop will provide a step-by-step guide on how to use OBS, from opening a project, adding different scenes and streaming to the platform of your choice.

The workshop dates, locations, and booking links

Please note, each of these workshops is an introduction to OBS. The same content will be repeated at each workshop.

Video editing with DaVinci Resolve

The software

DaVinci Resolve is a free video editing platform that enable you to edit video footage for anything from presentations to social media, YouTube videos and even films.

The workshop content

Led by Lee Robinson, the workshop will talk you through all the basics of the software, from opening a project and adding video clips, to simple editing, adding effects and exporting your work to then be uploaded and shared to any platform you want. Lee will also signpost to other free resources to continue learning the software in your own time. The workshops will cover all the basics to enable you to feel equipped to explore DaVinci Resolve further after the workshops.

The workshop dates, locations, and booking links

Please note, each of these workshops is an introduction to DaVinci Resolve. The same content will be repeated at each workshop.

Success of the 100% Digital Leeds model for a community-based approach to digital inclusion

December saw the launch of the 100% Digital Leeds model for a community-based approach to digital inclusion, funded by the Local Government Association. The model takes other councils through the Stages and Steps required to apply the 100% Digital Leeds approach in their locality, helping them to develop and implement their own digital inclusion interventions.

Since the model was published it has seen 233 page views and 89 downloads. The model is also featured in The Leeds lessons on digital inclusion, an article by UK Authority celebrating the national recognition of the 100% Digital Leeds programme. UK Authority explores and showcases best practice and innovation in the use of technology, digital and data for the delivery of modern public services that meet both the needs of the public sector and the citizens they serve.

“Overall, it is showing what can be achieved with an approach that is both city-wide and involves working with a wide range of partners and communities.”

UK Authority

The model for a community-based approach to digital inclusion is available to download on the Digital Inclusion Toolkit.

Key community partners to host place-based Digital Inclusion Officer roles in NHS funded initiative

The Old Fire Station in Gipton is the first community organisation in the city to host a member of staff whose role is to support the development, delivery, and coordination of digital inclusion across the local area. The Digital Inclusion Officer post is being advertised until Sunday 19 February with interviews taking place Monday 27 February.

Though hosted by The Old Fire Station, the new Digital Inclusion Officer will work with a range of partners across the York Road Local Care Partnership (LCP) area. They will take a place-based approach to improving and increasing the digital inclusion support available to meet the needs of local communities. The Digital Inclusion Officer will be matrix-managed by 100% Digital Leeds and we expect to see the addition of more place-based roles linked to LCP areas in the near future.

“The Old Fire Station are excited to be hosting the new role of Digital Inclusion Officer in the York Road LCP area. With this new role we hope to support the community to become more digitally included by providing activities and information to increase knowledge and skills.”

Fran Etherington, Development Manager, The Old Fire Station

Supporting digital inclusion for health participation locally

The post supports the continued development of the York Road LCP Digital Health Hubs, a network of community partners supporting the digital inclusion needs of local communities to improve digital health participation and reduce health inequalities.

The Digital Health Hub network is part of the implementation of the 100% Digital Leeds community-based approach to digital inclusion for improved health participation, delivered in partnership with Local Care Partnerships. There are currently 27 Digital Health Hubs in Leeds, across York Road and Beeston and Middleton LCP areas.

The city-wide roll out of place-based Digital Health Hub networks

The approach is being rolled-out across the city with a staged implementation plan. The first wave is currently in development with the support of NHS Health Inequalities funding. This will see the launch of a further four Digital Health Hub networks linked to LCPs, plus an additional two Digital Health Hubs supporting a particular Community of Interest.

“Local Care Partnerships aim to bring organisations together and pool resources to be able to support communities better together. The new role at The Old Fire Station is a really exciting development, a way of making sure that all of the Digital Health Hubs in the LCP get the support they need for local people.”

Kim Adams, Programme Director, Local Care Partnerships Development Programme

The Digital Inclusion Officer post is currently open for applications. The closing date is Sunday 19 February with interviews taking place Monday 27 February.

Be Online Stay Safe

Leeds Older People’s Forum (LOPF) and 100% Digital Leeds have been awarded DCMS funding to deliver a partnership project addressing and improving media literacy for older people from diverse communities.  The project will tackle challenges set out in the DCMS Online Media Literacy Strategy and the tools and resources produced will be shared nationally in partnership with Ofcom.

This community-based media literacy project will build upon the understanding, experiences, and existing trusted relationships of four key partners working in the 10% most deprived areas of the city. The partners were chosen because of their recognised holistic, person-centred approach to meeting the needs of their communities.

The project delivery partners are:

  • Health for All
  • Feel Good Factor
  • Hamara
  • Leeds Irish Health and Homes

The project will overcome the digital inclusion barriers older people in diverse communities face to accessing media literacy, enabling them to positively interact online:

  • building digital confidence and skills.
  • supporting online safety and reducing fear.
  • developing an understanding of what is available online across different media.

We will be working with the National Media Literacy Taskforce and national mentors to deliver and evaluate the project, alongside the three other DCMS funded projects across the country. 

Project objectives

LOPF, 100% Digital Leeds, and the Be Online Stay Safe (BOSS) delivery partners will focus on achieving the following objectives:

  • supporting older people to develop an understanding of how the online environment operates.
  • building older people’s resilience to online disinformation and misinformation.
  • supporting older people to develop an understanding of the risks and benefits of engaging with others online
  • supporting older people to increase their digital skills and confidence in using and navigating the online world.

There will be a focus on working with older people who currently aren’t online because of their lack of confidence, to inform them and support them to overcome these barriers. An additional focus will be on supporting older people who currently use digital and are online but may not be aware of how to stay safe, may be more vulnerable to online scams, or are at risk of accessing incorrect information.

The voice of older people at the heart of the project

LOPF conducted an initial consultation with partners to develop BOSS. This highlighted a need for people to develop their digital skills in their native language and learn how to use their devices in different languages. Speaking to those lacking in digital confidence identified fear of online scams, unfamiliarity with the digital world and online media, embarrassment in asking for help, low literacy levels, and undiagnosed learning needs.

There is an identified need for a diverse, informal learning offer and a range of tools and resources to enable older people to feel safe and confident online. Skills such as recognising if a website is safe, understanding why companies collect personal data, buying online safely, and understanding how to manage their own presence online were seen as key.

A steering group made up of organisations and older people will be formed to support the sharing of best practice, overcoming challenges, and increasing collaborative working.

The project will be coproduced with older people and take a test-learn-develop ethos. We will identify the best interventions, resources, and approach to take when supporting older people to develop their media literacy skills, enabling them to feel confident, and stay safe online. 

Older people will be able to share insights about their experiences, feedback on the approaches and feed into the development of the resources relevant for other service users.

Building community capacity to deliver digital inclusion for improved media literacy

LOPF has employed a Digital Inclusion Coordinator who will work closely with the 100% Digital Leeds team to align the project with the 100% Digital Leeds approach, working to ensure everyone in Leeds has equal opportunity to use digital tools, technology, and services in the right way for them.

The Digital Inclusion Coordinator will build community capacity and upskill the workforce of partner organisations to increase media literacy across the diverse communities of older people they support. They will work closely with all partner organisations to co-produce interventions that meet the needs of communities, break down barriers, and increase digital access, skills, confidence, and motivation.

The DCMS funding will also address connectivity barriers by increasing the amount of digital equipment available via partners, enabling older people to have greater access to devices and the internet. Partners will join the National Databank allowing them to gift free data to their communities, and supporting the development of device lending and gifting schemes.


The project will develop peer-support models to enable people with lived experience to share their learning and support others, bridging gaps where language and literacy are the main barriers. Developing bi-lingual resources will further increase accessibility to digital learning and development. Digital skills sessions will be delivered in a variety of ways to meet the individual needs of the communities: one-to-one, group sessions, online and hybrid, and in learners’ homes. 

Project evaluation

The project will have a robust evaluation and be internally and externally evaluated using a theory of change model. A variety of evaluation tools will be used such as case studies, session attendance figures, skills assessments and focus groups.  Two learning reports will be produced at mid and end points of the project.

Learning resources will be developed and disseminated via the Older People’s Digital Inclusion network, LOPF, 100% Digital Leeds website and social media.

Next steps

The Digital Inclusion Coordinator is in post at LOPF. The next steering group meeting will take place in February to bring all delivery partners together to map out the timeline for the project for the rest of the year and identify support needed, gaps in resource, and how best the funding can be used to have maximum impact for communities. 

For more information contact or

Transport Connections: supporting older people to use transport apps

Leeds Older People’s Forum has been awarded a grant through the Department for Transport’s ‘Tackling loneliness with transport’ fund to lead Transport Connections, a project focussing on improving older people’s access and experiences with transport across the city. 

100% Digital Leeds has partnered with Leeds Older People’s Forum and our Leeds Older People’s Digital Inclusion Network to deliver a key project as part of this fund which is focused on supporting older people to use taxi and bus apps. 

The project has six key delivery partners that are supporting older people to use digital to help them to navigate around the city, increasing their independence and improving their access to services. The partners are:

  • Holbeck Together
  • Morley Digital
  • Leeds Irish Health and Homes
  • Your Backyard
  • Age UK Leeds
  • Cross Gates and District Good Neighbours

Aims and objectives

This pilot project is working to trial new and innovative ways of increasing access to transport services in the city and increasing opportunities for older people to engage with these services in the right way for them.  The project will take a holistic approach building upon older people’s individual motivations and delivery partners are gathering insights into which tools are most appropriate for older people, ensuring they meet their individual needs.

Ideal outcomes we’re working to achieve:

  • older people are aware of which transport apps are available and accessible to use in the city.
  • older people are supported to use transport apps to increase independence and social connections, reduce isolation, and be more confident to interact with the full range of services available across Leeds.
  • older people develop their digital skills and confidence, and have greater access to devices and connectivity
  • staff and volunteers across organisations feel skilled and confident in supporting older people in using transport apps.

“I’m really keen to find out more about these apps. I sometimes stand outside in the rain and don’t know how long my taxi will be and if it’s stuck in traffic.”

Steering group member and older person

Hearing the voices of older people

Older people’s voices will be central to the development of this project. A steering group made up of delivery partners, transport services and older people has been formed to help delivery partners gain a greater understanding of the barriers older people face in using these digital tools and services. 

The delivery partners are scoping which transport apps are currently available and accessible for older people in Leeds, such as Uber, Amber Cars, Bus Tracker, First Bus app.  The organisations are then going to be working with 100% Digital Leeds and the Older People’s Digital Inclusion Network to produce a toolkit with ‘how to’ guides and crib sheets to help older people develop their skills and confidence in using these apps. 

The delivery partners will be meeting monthly to share best practice, challenges, and resources, working to build the toolkit that will benefit both staff and older people. 

“I use the bus tracker app now to know when my bus is on its way and I also use it on the bus so I know when and where to get off. When it’s dark or raining I struggle to see out of the window when my stop is but I watch it on the app and then press the button at the right stop. It’s really reduced my anxiety around using buses.”

Steering group member and older person.

Digital inclusion sits at the heart of the project

The project will work to identify and overcome further digital inclusion barriers faced by older people. Funding will support partner organisations to improve and increase opportunities for older people to access the connectivity and devices they need to make best use of transport apps. 

Delivery partners are working with 100% Digital Leeds to gain a greater understanding of the digital inclusion barriers older people face and are looking at which devices are most accessible to support older people to use transport apps.

In the initial conversations with older people there were many that expressed their concerns over inputting their bank details into the apps and that they wanted to feel more confident in using them. The delivery partners are building support around online safety into the toolkit and resources, ensuring older people are fully aware of what information is held in the apps. They will also be supporting older people with the setup process to remove some of the initial barriers to using transport apps.   

Digital skills sessions will be delivered themed around specific apps, and these will be delivered in group settings, one-to-one sessions in the community, and home visits for those that need it.

“It was great to track my taxi. I used to wonder where it was but, on the app, I can see where it is, and I can see the colour of the taxi, the reg and the drivers name, which has really put me at ease.  I’ve had help to set it up and use it and now I feel good with it, all my locations are saved so I just click ‘Book’!”

Steering group member and older person.


This project will be evaluated with Leeds Older People’s Forum, collecting case studies of older people’s experiences. Organisations are monitoring how many people they are supporting and attending the sessions. 

The resources and toolkit produced through the project will be shared wider with partners across the city, and other partners are welcome to join the conversation and attend a steering group. 

For more information get in touch with