Embedding digital inclusion within Student Nurse Programme

100% Digital Leeds has partnered with Hayley Ingleson (Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust (LCH) and Leeds Primary Care Practice Learning Facilitator) to include a digital leadership strand within the new and innovative Leeds Primary Care Leadership Placement as part of the Queens Nursing Institute Community Innovation Programme 2022-2023. 

Aims and Objectives

The overall aim of the Student Leadership Placement is to expand sustainable high quality practice learning opportunities across primary care for pre-registration Adult Nursing learners. There is a focus on expanding knowledge and demonstrating leadership skills through three fundamental aspects of community healthcare throughout the 12 week placement:

  1. Public Health/health needs/health inequalities
  2. Preventative healthcare
  3. Digital health

In the first ‘structured learning week’ of the placement 100% Digital Leeds delivered an interactive training package to the four student nurses. The session provided them with:

  • greater insight and understanding of digital inclusion and exclusion
  • tools that they could use to explore barriers and challenges, such as motivational interviewing and coaching techniques
  • resources to support them to signpost service users who identify they would like help to become more digitally included to existing support.

“One conversation we had with a patient, the lady reported that she did not have access to the internet. Therefore, we informed her that the local library offers free wifi, and this would enable her to use her phone to access the GP Practice website and other tools to help her wellbeing and do things she enjoys.”

Student nurse

For the remaining 11 weeks of the placement the students led on three NHS Health Check Clinics per week in the general practice setting within the LS25/26 PCN and spent time each Tuesday in a community setting (either Garforth Net or MHA Communities Rothwell and District). Here they had the opportunity to build relationships with a diverse population group and enable them to have meaningful conversations about digital health. They took a person-centred approach and raised awareness of ways in which people could use digital tools to manage their health and wellbeing and engage with health services. They also had positive conversations about digital, promoted the benefits that digital tools could bring, and signposted to support. 

“As well as supporting patients to know about what apps and tools could help them with their health and wellbeing and how to use these, we have also been able to signpost patients to other organisations such as Age UK Leeds and Carers Leeds who run digital inclusion sessions for people who need further support with digital health and even things like online shopping.”

Student nurses


The students have embedded digital inclusion into their placements and used their new knowledge and skills to support people to order prescriptions online and to access health and wellbeing websites and apps including One You Leeds, Active Leeds, and Mindwell.

It has been a successful partnership with third sector organisations Garforth Net and MHA Communities Rothwell and District, and this has enabled the students’ conversations with people to happen in an informal, holistic way.  The students built trusted relationships with service users which helped them to have impactful digital inclusion conversations. They really understood the digital inclusion barriers people faced and helped them to overcome those.

“We found starting with an informal conversation with the patient naturally follows on with a conversation about what information patients can access through digital health. It also gives us the opportunity to see what devices people have. For example, we found that typically elderly patients do have smart phones, however they mainly use their phones for texting and taking photos. Having face to face appointments means we have been able to demonstrate and teach them how to use the apps relevant to them, making it accessible for all.  We’ve utilised the free wifi in the community locations and showed patients how to make the most of this.”

Student nurse

Many people they engaged with weren’t aware of the digital tools available to them to support their health and wellbeing and had a lack of confidence around digital. The students showed people the tools and increased their confidence and skills by demonstrating the benefits of digital. 

“When we first started our health check clinics in the community, we spoke to a patient about how they can see their health record. This patient wasn’t aware this was even possible, which prompted the question of how and on which platform they’d do this.  We informed them of the NHS app and Patient Access, and talked them through how they set this up. The patient was incredibly thankful and said it would really help them order their prescriptions on the app and make appointments in an easier way.  Since then, we encouraged this in all conversations we had, and with some we were able to direct them to online services and apps such as NHS smoke free and self-management apps that were personally relevant to them.” 

Student nurse


The Leeds Primary Care Student Leadership Placement Pilot is due to finish on 27 January 2023 and will be fully evaluated and written up for the British Journal of Community Nursing. The students said they thoroughly enjoyed developing their own skills to deliver digital inclusion and will continue to promote digital health throughout their career, assisting those who need it, ensuring everyone who has the ability and wants to access it can. 

Following on from the success of this pilot programme plans are underway, working with Primary Care and LCH teams, to roll this programme out in further Primary Care Networks later this year.

“The programme of specialist support and expertise provided by 100% Digital Leeds throughout the development and implementation of the pilot has been incredible and we look forward to working with the team going forward.”

Hayley Ingleson, Practice Learning Facilitator

Thanks to Student nurses, Hayley, Erin, Megan, Weronika and Sophie.

Partner profile: Turning Lives Around

Turning Lives Around (TLA) is a charitable organisation that works to prevent homelessness and empower people to believe that they can change their lives and live independently. Over the last three years the organisation has worked with 100% Digital Leeds to embed digital inclusion across their service by:

  • providing staff with digital inclusion training
  • providing client-access wifi across the service
  • reconditioning old staff smartphones to be gifted to clients without devices
  • gifting free data, calls, and texts via the National Databank
  • addressing eSafety as part of standard needs assessments

As a result of these innovations TLA clients have easier access to services such as health, education, and benefits, the impact of which has been improved independence and wellbeing for clients, and more efficient use of staff time.

An overview of the organisation

TLA provides supported accommodation for people with multiple disadvantage such as homelessness, offending, mental health needs, and substance misuse. Provision includes self-contained flats, shared community accommodation and Intensive Support Environments (ISEs). As well as housing solutions, TLA offers support for training and employment, self-care, health and wellbeing, budgetary and financial advice, peer mentoring, volunteering and educational opportunities, and recovery support, including harm reduction and joint work with drug and alcohol agencies. TLA has around 150 staff.

Supporting digital access for vulnerable clients

TLA got in touch with 100% Digital Leeds for support on how they might provide wifi in their settings following feedback from clients that access to the online world would be beneficial. Within the organisation there was some concern around the risks wifi might pose to vulnerable clients and the low digital skills and confidence of staff added to this hesitancy.

“There were concerns people could be exploited online, would be able to buy drugs online, young people might be bullied online, people wouldn’t be able to keep themselves safe online. Because our role is very focussed on safeguarding and risk the question was, do we do this or do we not? Is it going to be helpful or is it not?”

Kerri Walker, Senior Housing Support Worker, Turning Lives Around.

TLA ran client consultation to gather perceptions of the potential pros and cons of having access to wifi. They heard from the young people’s provision, alcoholic women’s provision, and men’s provision, establishing why that client group would want wifi, what they would use it for, what the risks might be, and how those risks could be managed. Key Workers were encouraged to discuss similar issues with clients as a client-led service. Suggested benefits included accessing services, creating CVs and applying for jobs, and managing the Universal Credit move to online journals.

“It was a big step and it was a little bit scary but we thought, we’ll try something.”

Kerri Walker, Senior Housing Support Worker, Turning Lives Around.

Taking a test and learn approach

Before committing to finding the funding to install wifi TLA trialled providing connectivity to the young people at their Seacole Scheme by borrowing 6 4G iPads from the previous 100% Digital Leeds Tablet Lending Scheme. Guidelines to protect clients and look after the equipment were coproduced with clients and embedded within house rules. This included time limits on usage, usage limited to communal areas allowing staff to monitor, usage limited to certain times of day supporting clients to stick to healthy routines, and fair use policies to ensure the equipment was shared. The benefits to clients were seen straight away.

“It worked really well and we soon started to see really positive benefits. Staying in touch with friends and family, independently managing online journals and bidding on properties, taking pictures and doing artwork and all sorts. They looked after the equipment and followed the rules because they respected the staff and they respected the opportunity they were being given, and they respected the amount of trust we put in them.”

Kerri Walker, Senior Housing Support Worker, Turning Lives Around.

The learning and impact from the tablet learning pilot was used to secure £10,000 funding for to TLA buy iPads for use across the whole service. The iPads were given to Key Workers to use with clients, supporting clients to develop their digital skills and confidence and be more independent. Staff received digital inclusion training from 100% Digital Leeds and less confident staff members attended additional training on how to use the devices, how to support accessibility features, and installing useful apps. As a result clients were able to better support themselves and staff capacity was freed up for other things.

“Previously we were bringing clients into the office to use staff computers. We were doing a lot ‘for’ people and not ‘with’ people so they weren’t really learning anything. Now clients have the opportunity to develop their skills and do it themselves”.

Kerri Walker, Senior Housing Support Worker, Turning Lives Around.

A focus on safeguarding

Staff engaged clients with conversations about online safety and privacy, especially around social media, scams, and online exploitation. Existing support plans were adapted to put more focus on risks of online exploitation, alongside physical and sexual exploitation. Staff are made aware of popular scams that clients might be vulnerable to, such as Universal Credit scams on Snapchat, and are encouraged to discuss with clients during key work sessions. Clients who have experienced domestic violence are supported to understand how to manage their social media to avoid being found by their abuser. This is now a standard conversation that takes place with all clients and every client now has a robust online safety plan as part of their safeguarding plan.

“There were worries people would be able to buy drugs online, but we took the attitude of, they’re going to source them from somewhere. You can go out and shout and you’ve got a dealer at your door. But then you flip it around and, yes, they’re drug addicts, but now they can order their prescription online, so they can access methadone in 20 minutes. They can more easily access rehab. Instead of long phone assessments and multiple waiting lists clients can input their information online and the process is much quicker.”

Kerri Walker, Senior Housing Support Worker, Turning Lives Around.

Providing access to wifi across the service

The learning and impact of the expanded iPad trial gave TLA the evidence needed to secure external funding to install wifi across the service. The initial investment costs were secured as part of a larger funding application and costings for ongoing digital provision is now build in to core funding.

Wifi has been made available in all 24/7 residential provision. Clients have access in private rooms and communal spaces, including the gardens. Old staff smartphones are refurbished and gifted to clients that don’t have their own device, along with data from the National Databank. Staff signpost clients to equipment gifting or loan from education settings or via provision for children in care.

Having access to wifi has allowed people to stay in touch with family, access support from partner services, continue formal education, and use online tools to be more independent. Allowing clients access to the internet has positively impacted on staff capacity as people are supported to do things for themselves so staff don’t have to do it for them. Clients are also better able to use digital tools to manage their mood and mental health and TLA are seeing fewer incidents as a result.

“We’ve seen a massive decrease in antisocial behaviour and a huge increase in engagement. YouTube gives our clients access to the world. It’s made them so much more knowledgeable about the world. The internet has sparked such creativity and given people the space to follow their own interests. They’re learning based off their own back, not because someone has told them to. I would never take that wifi away, it’s a massively positive thing.”

Kerri Walker, Senior Housing Support Worker, Turning Lives Around

Accessible video CV guide

Our Autism and Learning Disabilities Digital Inclusion Coordinator, has been working with members of the Autism and Learning Disability Digital Inclusion Network to look at ways that digital technologies can be used to make employment more accessible for people with learning disabilities. This accessible video CV guide is a collaboration between 100% Digital Leeds and Learning Disabilities team at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LYPFT) .

Shaun Webster MBE, from Learning Disabilities team at LYPFT, explained that he secured his job in the team by submitting a video CV. This was much simpler for him than completing a written CV or application form. Shaun feels passionately that by accepting video CVs, employers can empower people with learning disabilities, and those who struggle to read and write, to apply for positions.

There are very few accessible guides online to making a video CV or an application form which could be used to support people with learning disabilities to create their own video CV so we wanted to co-produce a video guide which is simple and straightforward to use without a lot of expensive equipment or specialist knowledge.

The guide can be used with groups in sessions or on a one-to-one basis, if you are supporting a person with a learning disability to get into employment. It is also designed to be straightforward enough so that many people with learning disabilities will be able to use the guide independently.

Partner profile: Your Back Yard

Your Back Yard are a social enterprise organisation based in West Leeds that focus on supporting communities across the city to be able to live healthier, more active, and happier lives. They provide a range of sports and wellbeing activities aimed at older adults, including walking football, walking netball, and tai chi.

Through the pandemic they found many of their members couldn’t access the sessions and activities they offered and faced barriers to digital inclusion when they started hosting virtual sessions. They decided to build and develop a core digital inclusion offer within their service to enable older people to develop their digital skills and confidence and to support them to access the exercise and social sessions available online.


Your Back Yard partnered with 100% Digital Leeds in 2021, and looked at ways they could provide digital support in an inclusive and person-centred way for their members. They had limited capacity to deliver support sessions but had identified a real need and demand across their service users. Many didn’t have devices and had never been online before.

Your Backyard decided to partner with Leeds City College and Leeds University to build their capacity to deliver digital inclusion support within the West Leeds area. They recruited student volunteers to join the programme and they buddied up with older adults and provided 1-1 and group support. This enabled them to download and use Zoom, download apps that linked to their interests, and build their confidence in using their devices.
The students received digital inclusion awareness training delivered by 100% Digital Leeds, and took a holistic approach in tailoring sessions to ensure they met the needs of members.

This intergenerational approach worked really well, and they still continue to deliver sessions in this way working with the University and College students. The range of themed sessions they have delivered was based on what the members were interested in such as using bus apps, ordering prescriptions online, downloading BBC iPlayer and being able to email and video call family and friends.

Expanding their digital inclusion offer

Throughout the past year Your Back Yard have developed this partnership with the College and University and expanded their reach further across the city, working with other organisations who support older people to support them with their capacity and delivery.

“Joining the Older People’s Digital Inclusion Network has enabled us to develop several partnerships, and helped us identify ways we could work with other organisations to support their capacity gaps to deliver digital inclusion. We worked with 100% Digital Leeds to identify and apply for funding to look at expanding our offer across Leeds”

Your Back Yard applied and successfully received several funding bids, including a Digital Inclusion Fund Grant, Stay Well in Winter grant, Places for People, HAP bids and more. With this funding they have partnered with Burmantoffs Senior Action, Richmond Hill Elderly Action, Bramley Elderly Action, OWLS, Cross Gates and District Good Neighbours, Holt Park Active, MHA Communities South Leeds, and retirement homes to deliver digital skills support.

They wanted to really embed their digital inclusion offer into their existing offer of social, sport and exercise sessions, enabling more older people to have the opportunity to join virtually and be more digitally confident, but also find out about which face to face sessions they could join to support their health and wellbeing.

“In addition to offering digital support to residents we were also able to share with them information about the other activities we run such as our walking football. Marge, one of our now digital champions, has become a member of our walking football team who meet every Friday morning! We were also able to support people to access our Get Active and Online fitness classes which we offer live on Zoom. We are so happy we can merge our goals of both supporting digital inclusion and encouraging activity and fitness for older adults in our work!”

Your Back Yard have enabled older people who have been supported themselves with digital to go on to become ‘digital champions’ – helping others use WhatsApp and encouraging peer support. This has helped reduce fears people felt about going online and really empowered members to share their skills and experiences. In identifying that a significant number of people they were engaging with didn’t have devices or equipment they also utilised funding to purchase equipment to enable members to loan devices to support their learning journey.

“We wanted to deliver a wrap-around support offer where we could loan someone a tablet with 4G data and then be able to work with the students to deliver digital support with people to build their confidence and skills in using the devices. We have joined the National Databank to be able to gift data to people and accessed free 4G enabled sim cards via Vodafone Charities Connected to also support those without Wifi at home”


Here’s a few important points Your Back Yard have learned over the past year, when delivering a digitally inclusive service for older adults:

  • Older adults have benefitted most from regular and consistent digital support (ideally weekly).
  • Digital inclusion needs city wide support, and working collaboratively in the network and with wider partners is vital, as well as having available funding for projects.
  • For older people to get the most out of being online we have found having an up-to-date smartphone has been beneficial for increasing social connections and being introduced to apps. This has been a huge barrier for people with low incomes. A huge thanks to 100% Digital Leeds and Hubbub UK we received iPhones which we have been able to gift to older people we work with, who have now managed to set up a WhatsApp group, keep in touch, provide peer-support, and develop their skills and confidence as well as now being able to have so many more opportunities.
  • It’s quicker and easy to do things for people but this doesn’t help older people in the long run or increase their confidence. It’s key to have patience and support people to be empowered to have a go themselves and be able to independently engage with digital.
  • Writing things down so older people can practice their digital skills at home is 100% worth it. It’s great to see how they have developed their skills in their own time and how empowered they feel after this.
  • Student volunteers have been vital. The intergenerational work we have done has had so many positive benefits and young people have shared their digital knowledge and developed great relationships with the older people they have supported.
  • The benefits of supporting older people to go online are huge, and very rewarding. When you hear they facetimed their grandchildren, logged on to our exercise classes, sent an email, joined a group chat, watched a video on YouTube or booked a doctor’s appointment for the first time in 2 years it makes all your efforts worth it. It’s brilliant!

Next steps

Your Back Yard now deliver 5 digital cafes across the city and are seeking further funding opportunities, working in partnership with 100% Digital Leeds and the Older People’s Digital Inclusion network to support organisations that need additional capacity and resource in delivering digital inclusion. Their current offer has digital skills support sessions in a variety of locations both 1-1 and group based, device lending schemes, and data gifting.

Their success in delivering digital sessions with Daisyfield Grange Retirement Home has now led them to look at further digital support they could offer across residential and care homes to support older people in developing their digital skills and confidence.

“We still have a long way to go to help sustainably reduce the digital divide in Leeds, but we will be tackling that challenge head on with the support of 100% Digital Leeds, the Older People’s Digital Inclusion Network and in developing our city-wide offer for older people. In the future months we are hoping to secure further funding for a digital inclusion worker who can lead and coordinate our digital inclusion projects and continue to support older people to become digital champions who can share their skills and knowledge with other older people”

Partner profile: Leeds Libraries

Library service users accessing online library resources with iPads

Leeds has 34 public libraries across the city and as a universal provider offers services to a wide and diverse range of communities. Libraries are safe spaces within communities with trusted staff on hand, which provides plenty of opportunities to make positive interventions when it comes to digital inclusion.

Frontline staff as Digital Champions

100% Digital Leeds provided Digital Champion Train the Trainer sessions to librarians who then cascaded the training to frontline staff throughout the library service, resulting in over 300 Digital Champions to date with more trained as part of new starters’ inductions.

With the knowledge gained as Digital Champions, frontline staff are much more aware of how to identify barriers that are stopping people from getting online and now have tips on how to help customers overcome these issues. As staff speak with library users every day they can hold positive conversations around digital, helping to motivate people to give it a go. The awareness gained as Digital Champions within a wider network of digital support available around the city means customers are more likely to be signposted to the most suitable service for their needs

Digital skills training

Leeds Libraries has delivered digital skills sessions for many years, and has free wifi and PCs available across the city to provide access for those at risk of digital exclusion. The Library’s digital team identified a need for basic skills sessions for those with no skills whatsoever, and has developed a successful First Steps with Digital course delivered by Digital Champion Librarians who provide the motivation to overcome the skills barrier.

Devices and data

The tablet lending scheme developed by 100% Digital Leeds will now be managed by Leeds Libraries, who will make tablets with data available to individuals as well as organisations which will build on the existing offer and extend its reach into communities. By supporting organisations and encouraging their users into libraries it will also provide more opportunities for positive interventions for other digital inclusion needs, like the skills sessions mentioned earlier. The tablet lending scheme will be relaunched in the new year.

Leeds Libraries has partnered with the Good Things Foundation to become a gifting partner for the National Databank scheme. So far libraries have gifted 175 SIM cards which amounts to savings of over £12,500, and is helping people who are digitally excluded to get online.

Digital health care

The last few years has emphasised the importance digital can have when it comes to health care. 100% Digital Leeds has supported Leeds Libraries as they develop their digital health hub offer in tandem with community organisations in Local Care Partnerships around the city. The place-based approach taken by 100% Digital Leeds coupled with the number of libraries around the city increases the opportunities to support customers.

A library staff member on secondment worked closely with 100% Digital Leeds on a project to help people using NHS rehabilitation services to access support during the Covid pandemic. The expertise and access to 100% Digital’s network of primary and secondary healthcare organisations helped steer the project and improve its outcomes. Following the secondment the staff member continues to work with 100% Digitals’ Health Hub network to develop the library offer.

Arts In Care Homes Day

Leeds Libraries supported 100% Digital Leeds’ Arts in Care Homes day by developing several health and wellbeing sessions that took a softer approach to digital; the sessions were primarily based around creative arts and music, and towards the end of each session a digital element was introduced, such as showing how to create a YouTube music playlist or using a collaging app. This fun and light-touch approach hopes to ease people into the session who might be put off by the thought of digital.

“This year we took part in arts in care homes day with a digital inclusion workshop called reminiscing records. The session was designed to have a soft approach and to invite participants to have fun when going online in an inclusive and safe environment. The session had a large music theme, involving a classic music quiz and even live music – a chance to remember and reminisce our favourites! Towards the end of the session, once participants had had the opportunity to settle in, I introduced listening to music on YouTube and making a playlist! As we had begun the session in a format most people will recognise – a quiz, when going online to look at YouTube, it can feel less threatening. Overall, everyone seemed to really enjoy it and we got quite a few dance moves over Zoom.”

Agnes Leonowicz, Librarian, Leeds Libraries

Leeds Libraries also had a variety of online resources for the public, such as Learn In The Library, Libraries Online Learning, and Leeds Libraries Leeds Inspired.

Partner profile: Meanwood Valley Urban Farm

Meanwood Valley Urban Farm

Meanwood Valley Urban Farm is a 26 acre working farm, with a wide variety of animals. It is also a registered charity, and a major centre for community and environmental work. Established in 1980, their goal was to reconnect urban people with their food.  The farm works in partnership with Leeds City Council in providing a community care scheme, where adults with learning disabilities receive training in gardening, literacy and numeracy.


During the summer of 2022 the 100% Digital team supported staff at Meanwood Valley Urban Farm to apply for the Leeds Digital Inclusion Fund.  In August, the farm were successful in securing £10,000 to help 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. 

The Autism and Learning Disability Digital Inclusion Coordinator has been working closely with staff at the farm to discuss how the money can be spent to benefit as many people as possible.  Some of this money has now been spent on cameras which will be set up in the animal enclosures, allowing people to enjoy watching their favourite animals live.  The 100% Digital team has supported staff at the farm to build links with care homes who support residents with learning disabilities, many of whom are too vulnerable to visit the farm in person.  There are already plans in place for the footage to be streamed in the weekly Aspire Zoom sessions that take place in Aspire care homes and day centres citywide.  This pioneering work is being promoted nationally in the City Farms Network meetings.

The 100% Digital team alerted us to the Leeds Digital Inclusion Fund through which we have achieved £10,000 of funding to use with our HOOF group.  This will enable us to buy equipment which will both benefit the lives of our members and also allow us to share the amazing experience of being on the farm with a much wider audience.  By linking us with Networks such as the Autism and Learning Disability Digital Inclusion Network, the team have also allowed us to promote our work to a wider audience and enabled us build links with other groups  access opportunities for people with learning disabilities in the Leeds area.

Adam Ogilvie, CEO, Meanwood Valley Urban Farm

Equipment and digital skills support

A proportion of the Digital Inclusion Fund has also been spent on iPads, which will allow members of the HOOF group to develop their digital skills in an enjoyable way while they are working at the farm. The Autism and Learning Disability Coordinator is also delivering bespoke workshops in the New Year to ensure that staff on the farm have the digital skills and confidence that they need to support their members.


Meanwood Valley Urban Farm have now joined the Autism and Learning Disability Digital Inclusion Network.  The network is made up of over forty organisations citywide who work to support Autistic People and People with Learning disabilities.  The organisations meet monthly to share training and opportunities related to digital inclusion, to promote their work and to share good practice. 

If you are interested in joining the Network or finding out more then please contact Nicky@pyramid.org.uk

Next steps

Meanwood Urban Valley Farm are working in partnership with 100% Digital Leeds and the Central North Local Care Partnership as part of the community-based approach to Digital Inclusion.  The Farm is looking at ways they can develop and expand their current digital inclusion offer and become a Digital Health Hub, upskilling volunteers to support people with digital as well as looking at health and wellbeing walks to and from the farm.

Partner profile: CHANFOB

Change For The Better (CHANFOB) are a non-profit organisation committed to connecting, supporting and empowering individuals and families living in Leeds, especially those from minority and disadvantaged backgrounds. The majority of their clients are from Black African communities across the city, but they are open to working with anyone who could benefit from their assistance.

CHANFOB and 100% Digital Leeds have been working together this year to grow their digital inclusion offer as they have a shared objective of trying to ensure that Leeds residents have equal opportunity to use digital tools, technology and services in the right way for them.


100% Digital Leeds helped CHANFOB to apply for funding through Mears Foundation and they were successful in receiving an £800 grant to launch their project CHANFONLINE: Digital Inclusion at Hunslet Community Hub, offering a programme of eight weekly, free, easy-to-follow basic digital skills sessions for digitally excluded adults.

CHANFOB used the grant to purchase three tablets which allowed service users to borrow a device, free of charge, to practise between sessions. Learners received ongoing support and guidance so that they could get the most out of their internet experience and remain safe online. The tablets also allowed CHANFOB volunteers to provide support in people’s homes where disabilities or other factors prevent them from being able to attend the weekly sessions.


The programme helped 24 learners to gain and improve their digital skills and provided CHANFOB with the experience and equipment to expand their digital inclusion offer and ensure it is sustainable and embedded throughout their activities.

“A lot of people we work with are lacking the skills and confidence to enjoy the benefits of computers and the internet. They think the internet is not safe for them and are scared of cyber-crime. Many of them don’t have a device or internet. Through these sessions we’ve been able to give people belief that they can engage with the digital world.”

“CHANFOB is committed to continuing to implement concrete programmes that will help individuals in Leeds, especially adults and older people, to gain and improve their digital skills and become less isolated, more confident, and more independent.”

“We would like to thank Mears Foundation, without their financial support this project would not have been a success. We would also like to thank 100% Digital Leeds and Hunslet Community Hub and Library, for their incredible ongoing support.”

Mingson Mingina, Chair and Digital Champion, CHANFOB.

Next Steps

  • 100% Digital Leeds will help CHANFOB to seek further funding to continue offering provision and expand their services.
  • CHANFOB have joined the Online Centres Network and will apply to the National Databank, enabling them to provide SIM cards with free data, calls and texts to learners.
  • Following the conclusion of the initial 8-week programme, sessions are now every third Saturday of the month at Hunslet Community Hub.
  • CHANFOB would like more volunteers to help run CHANFONLINE, if you are interested or could help please email contact@chanfob.org

Partner profile: Canal Connections

A service user is sat at a desk and using an iPad as a drawing tablet.
A service user at Canal Connections

Canal Connections is a Community Interest Company (CIC) that is passionate about sharing Leeds’ beautiful canals with local people. The team has been working closely with 100% Digital Leeds to embed digital elements into the organisation’s offer.


Canal Connections is a member of the Autism and Learning Disability Digital Inclusion Network (ALaDDIN), made up of over forty organisations working to support autistic people and people with learning disabilities living across the city. The organisations meet monthly to share training and opportunities related to digital inclusion, to promote their work and to share good practice. Through this network that Canal Connections was able to identify and secure NHS funding to support health, wellbeing, and safe relationships for learning disabled and neurodiverse communities. The funding was used to support the formation of a new social group for adults with learning disabilities called ‘The Happy Wednesdays Group.’

The Happy Wednesdays Group

The Happy Wednesdays Group is an opportunity for adults with learning disabilities and their parents and carers to come together once a week. The members go out on a canal boat where they admire the beautiful scenery and spot wildlife including kingfishers, swans and hawks.  They also have the opportunity to drive the boat and learn vital skills for navigating the canals.  When they are not on the boats the group have the opportunity to partake in a craft activities such as rag rugging.

“People relax when they are on a boat in a way that is so difficult on dry land. The group love talking and admiring their surroundings, and they have formed healthy relationships with one another and with our staff. We hope that they will be able to build on their new skills and volunteer with future groups who meet on the boats. It’s so fantastic to see their confidence grow.”

Peter Forrest, Project Manager at Canal Connections.

Canal Connections bring digital elements into this programming in a way that is accessible and relevant, allowing members to develop their digital skills and confidence at their own pace by doing things meaningful to them. The group takes iPads with them on their boat trips and take photos and videos of their trips.  The have also been using the tablets to create digital artwork, to download apps around health and wellbeing and to learn other transferable digital skills.  Canal Connections has also joined the National Databank and are actively gifting SIM cards to members struggling to afford data. 

Arts in Care Homes Day programming

Canal Connections were part of the Arts in Care Homes Day digital arts programme, which was a collaboration between the 100% Digital Team and the Arts and Culture Digital Inclusion Network. Canal Connections used this as an opportunity to live stream a canal boat ride into Care Home settings citywide, allowing vulnerable residents to enjoy the experience of a boat ride without risking their health and safety. 

Partner profile: LEEDS 2023

LEEDS 2023 is run by the Leeds Culture Trust, an independent charity set up in 2019 by Leeds City Council as part of its Culture Strategy and as a response to the cancellation of the UK’s participation in the European Capital of Culture competition. LEEDS 2023’s ambition is to deliver a transformational year of creative experiences connecting and benefiting people now and into the future.

100% Digital Leeds has partnered with LEEDS 2023 to explore how creative digital skills and software can be made more accessible to Leeds communities, an idea born via the Arts and Culture Digital Inclusion Network.  Throughout 2022, 100% Digital Leeds and LEEDS 2023 worked together to run a series of workshops aimed at breaking down the perceptions that digital software is difficult to use, expensive and inaccessible to anyone outside of creative industries. The workshops were free, assumed no prior digital skills or knowledge, utilised free digital tools, and were led by experts from across Leeds’s creative industries. The various software packages highlighted in the workshops are free, powerful and support the creation of high-quality content.

“At LEEDS 2023 we are building up to our year of culture, letting culture loose across the city. These workshops are one of the ways we are supporting artists, creatives and organisations. Our aim is to give workshop participants the basic skills they need to begin experimenting and exploring their creative skills. It has been great to partner with 100% Digital Leeds on this programme to ensure that it reaches people across the city. We want to make sure that these workshops are open to everyone and the overwhelming feedback is that we should run more.”

Adam Sas-Skowronski, Creative Technologist, LEEDS 2023

The success of this initial series has led to the workshops being extended into 2023, when four of the workshops trialled will be delivered in various venues across the city. The workshops will include image editing, audio editing, video editing and live streaming, and each will be repeated in community venues across the city. More information coming in January!

Who attended the workshops

100% Digital Leeds worked with LEEDS 2023 to deliver a series of seven workshops across 2022, covering a range of content including video game design, social media strategy, and interactive storytelling, with the most popular sessions being image editing, audio editing, and video editing.

Tweet from a workshop attendee

Across the seven workshops 130 people booked spaces and the workshops saw a 70% attendance rate on the day. The in-person events in the city centre attracted people from across Leeds.

Attendance has been cross-sector with around half to two thirds of attendees representing community or third sector, around a third of attendees came from the creative industries, and a small percentage attended from the public and education sectors or people attending out of personal interest.

How the workshops made an impact

Reasons for attending the workshops included developing skills to be later shared with communities, creating engaging community learning resources, recording community history and creating digital archives, content creation, and capturing and sharing organisational impact.

Tweet from a workshop attendee

Comments from attendees demonstrate that the workshops have been successful in breaking down perceptions and supporting access:

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

“I liked how accessible it felt, I am completely new to using Audacity and sound and this felt really user friendly.”

“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 workshop attendees

On a scale of 1 to 5, 98% of responders said the workshops rated as a 4 or 5 in terms of being both engaging and user friendly. Attendees also rated as a 4 or 5 the likelihood of them recommending the workshop series to a friend or attending another workshop themselves.

Aishwarya Vijayakumar has used her new digital skills to create the branding and social media promotion for her small business, Totes and More.

“I attended almost all the Leeds 2023 workshops in this series, and I’ve been able to put most of these into practice. The image editing workshop in particular has helped me build the social media for my business. I’ve always wanted an aesthetic feed and all the previous softwares I’ve used provide similar looking graphics. The GoDaddy Studio workshop really helped me step up my business socials and I’ve been told by everyone I meet that they find my social media posts and graphics very well presented.”

Aishwarya Vijayakumar, Totes and More

Download our model for a community-based approach to digital inclusion

Last week saw the launch of the new 100% Digital Leeds  model for a community-based approach to digital inclusion. The model sets out the stages and steps that can be followed by council officers  who wish to adapt and apply the approach in their locality to develop and implement their own digital inclusion interventions. The webinar was viewed by over 100 people from across the UK, many of whom lead digital inclusion for their local authority.

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

Launch webinar recording.

A community-based approach to digital inclusion

The 100% Digital Leeds community-based approach to digital inclusion brings together key partners to design digital inclusion interventions based on the needs of a particular community. A community could be a geographic area, such as a ward or a town, or a community of interest, such as unpaid carers, older people, or people with learning disabilities. The approach uses and builds upon existing strengths and assets to create an intervention that is bespoke, sustainable, and able to scale and flex in response to changing needs. The resulting interventions are embedded within the existing support mechanisms around that community, strengthening the place to empower the person.

For the first time, this model sets out the 100% Digital Leeds community-based approach to digital inclusion as a series of stages and steps so that all councils can adopt, adapt, and apply the principles in their area.

“This is a clear and practical model which we have been able to adapt from a city to an extensive rural setting successfully. Whilst this model covers every aspect of implementing and enabling the community-based approach, you can also use it as a ‘pick and mix’ to just use the elements you need – it’s very flexible.”

Debbie Fagan, Digital Inclusion (Health) Officer for East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Sharing learning and expertise

100% Digital Leeds is one of the most successful digital inclusion programmes in the country. The programme was initiated by a Leeds City Council Scrutiny Board inquiry in 2015 and the council continues to invest in a permanent team, part of the Integrated Digital Service (IDS) at Leeds City Council and Leeds Health and Care Partnership NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board. The team works with over 200 organisations, teams, settings, and services, and has brought over £2million into the city, increasing the capacity of third sector organisations and building the digital inclusion ecosystem across Leeds.

“We must work together across all organisations and sectors to ensure digital is about more than just deploying new technology. We must ensure that everyone is included, engaged, motivated, skilled, confident, equipped and involved in our collective digital journey. I’m immensely proud of the outcomes that the 100% Digital Leeds team is generating for our city.”

Leonardo Tantari, chief digital and information officer for Leeds City Council and the NHS (Leeds) West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board

A Local Government Association Digital Pathfinder Project

The 100% Digital Leeds team was funded to write and publish the model as part of the Local Government Association (LGA) Digital Pathfinders Programme, designed to support councils seeking to innovate and develop pioneering initiatives to advance digital inclusion, digital connectivity, and cyber security.

“In recent years this model has developed into an example of best practice in the sector, strengthening the outcome of digital inclusion initiatives for residents, partners and communities in Leeds and beyond. Hence, why we funded Leeds City Council to utilise their expertise to scale a model to other councils that enables them to replicate and build a community of support that is integral for residents to benefit from being online.”

Tom Denman, Productivity Adviser – Digital Innovation, Security and Behavioural Insights, Local Government Association

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