Digital Inclusion in Wandsworth – Feedback from first meeting (29Jul20)

At Katherine Low Settlement we’re working towards Wandsworth becoming the most digitally inclusive borough in London by 2024. To do this we need the whole community involved. On 29th July we hosted a first meeting to discuss digital inclusion in Wandsworth. 26 people attended. They came from a variety of community organisations and the Council. The group agreed it need to bring more people and organisations into the discussion and subsequent work ahead of us.

Meeting Recording

Listen back the meeting here: (Of note: Isabel’s – Power to Connect case study is at 20 minutes; Paula’s – KLS’ Love to Learn case study is at 26 minutes). Zoom doesn’t allow the breakout groups to be recorded, so only the main group discussion was captured. I recommend you use the fast forward button!

Meeting Notes

For those that haven’t the time or the inclination here are some brief notes.

A. Issues

The group identified a wide range of issues affecting digital exclusion in Wandsworth. It was agreed that Digital Exclusion is wide ranging, affecting all ages and abilities in our community. It was recognised that people are on a spectrum ranging from total exclusion to total inclusion and everything in between.

Lockdown has accelerated take-up and usage of technology for some. But left many digitally excluded. Saying that there is a lot of work already going on in the borough that we can build on e.g. work of Power to Connect, laptop donation schemes, charities, schools, businesses and the Council.

We had a wide-ranging discussion but the issues can be boiled down to roughly 3 areas:

  1. Connecting to Digital
    1. Lack of hardware
    2. Lack of money to buy hardware
    3. Having to share hardware at home with siblings/parents
    4. For those that do have equipment it can be old & poor quality or they might just have a mobile phone and/or 1 laptop that is shared
    5. Impact this has on education, work, relationships/communication, access to services and more.
  2. Learning how to use the technology (developing skills)
    1. Need to develop the skills and knowledge and confidence to use technology
    2. Safety online & Safeguarding (e.g. grooming, scams and fraud, in app purchases)
    3. Role of parents/carers to teach and guide their children
  3. Digital Poverty
    1. Cost of data and connectivity
    2. Cost of computers, laptops, smart phones and software
  4. Other issues discussed included:
    1. Digital exclusion is at its heart about a lack of power
    2. It’s also a class issue (blue vs. white collar workers)
    3. Choice – to use or not to use! E.g. with older people choosing not to use technology. Offer a ‘carrot’ (the benefits of using tech)

B. Solutions

As there is such a spectrum of needs, a personalised approach will be needed to identify and address their needs. The group discussed a number of solutions and options. These included:

  • Map what’s going on in Wandsworth – who’s doing what where
  • Market segmentation
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel – there’s lots going on out there.
  • Learn from others e.g. Leeds Smart City; VR and dementia; Code Clubs etc.
  • There are lots of resources to help us e.g. DataWand; NSPCC; UK Online Communities;
  • Co-create and co-produce the solutions – engage lots of different groups to get them involved and develop the solutions together.
  • Explore community opportunities e.g. Community Fibre – bulk buying broadband for a community
  • ‘How to’ guides (written, video etc.)
  • Funding – we’ll need to identify sources of funding to help us.
  • Pooling our learning, skills and resources – No one is an expert on everything to do with digital stuff. As a community we will have lots of skills and resources we can draw upon for help.
  • We need to define and set achievable targets for what we mean by making Wandsworth the most digitally inclusive borough in London by 2024.

 C. Next steps

We agreed to meet again as a group on 16th September, 10am on Zoom.

(If you’d like to attend contact Aaron Barbour on [email protected] and 020 7223 2845).

Things to consider as next steps include:

  • Baseline – develop a baseline of what’s going on, by whom and where
  • Market segmentation – to identify all the different people/age groups involved and their needs and solutions – maybe small working groups could be set up to work on these
  • Communications work – to raise the issues and get support for the solutions – develop a comms plan
  • Funding – identify possible funding partners
  • Strategy and targets – co-produce one!
  • More people – invite and involve more people and institutions

We’ll report back on what happens at the September meeting.

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Until then if you’d like to donate an old laptop then please contact

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