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 14th December we hosted a fifth meeting to discuss digital inclusion in Wandsworth. 28 people attended. They came from a variety of community organisations, schools and colleges, business and the Council. The group agreed it need to bring more people and organisations into the discussion and subsequent work ahead of us.
Listen back to the meeting here: https://zoom.us/rec/share/OCWiSL8Yidy0FdrRIh4bcklzhKo4qS1DuWsuLVerdIdPqB29Zv2PoGZeU0t6RnIs.0nwUj98QMm53PnGC Access Passcode: uP=&38y2
Key: You will see below that action points are underlined.
Aseel from Tech Talent Charter shared her experience of being a refugee, training to be an electronics engineer, returning to work, and her subsequent career in tech.
Aseel mentioned Code First Girls https://codefirstgirls.org.uk/ and https://bcswomen.bcs.org/bcs-the-chartered-institute-for-it-and-coding-black-females-cbf-offer-bcs-membership-bursaries/ (amongst others).
Update from our 3 working groups
Raj updated the group. A short questionnaire has been developed and needs to be shared across Wandsworth. Action: Everyone to complete the survey themselves AND share this survey with at least 3 people through your networks.
B. Skills & Training
Isabel updated the group. Andrew (Hestia) was coordinating this group but has now left his role at Hestia. Isabel, Del, David and Santino are picking this up and developing a digital champion training programme to launch in the new year.
Sarah C. / Mary-Ann updated the group on funding from the Council’s including funding for laptops and data for residents via the new Winter Grant Fund (see link below).
Sarah reminded everyone to refer residents to the Discretionary Social Fund if they are in hardship and need support: https://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/housing/benefits-and-support/discretionary-support-grants/apply-for-covid-19-discretionary-social-fund/ The process for applying has been made a lot easier and shorter by the Council (takes approx. 15 mins – thank you).
Mary-Ann noted that more public services are becoming Digital by Default and therefore excluding people.
D. Relationships with the Council
Aaron updated the group about his meetings with Paul Martin (CEO of Wandsworth Council), various lead councillors and Battersea MP Marsha de Cordova. The objective has been to inform the Council of Wandsworth Digital work and to get them more involved at a senior level. With a long-term commitment and investment of resources into making Wandsworth digitally inclusive. This work is on-going.
Steve updated the group about Wandsworth Council’s recent announcement about funding for digital as part of the Winter Grant Fund, and funds through Adult and Children’s services. More here: https://democracy.wandsworth.gov.uk/documents/b17120/Supplementary%20Addendum%20Paper%20No.%2020-378%2003rd-Dec-2020%2019.30%20Finance%20Resources%20and%20Climate%20Susta.pdf?T=9
More announcements will come in the new year.
Aaron is also talking to the National Lottery Community Fund about potential funding for Wandsworth Digital later this week.
Roger (Workmatch) told the group about a fund that Ingeus have for unemployed residents to access to get them back into work, including for digital skills training and more. It is open to jobseekers based in the central London boroughs. Quickest referral routes would be via Jobcentre Plus Work Coaches, or self-referral on Ingeus’ website: www.centrallondonworks.co.uk
Roger estimates that 20% of people accessing support from Workmatch are digitally excluded.
Tony suggested that we lobby the Home Office to make this sort of fund available for asylum seekers and refugees.
Julie (WCA) reminded everyone that they are hosting a ‘Meet the Funder’ event on 14th January 2021 with the Lottery. Book an appointment for a 1:1 session with Julie by emailing her: [email protected]
Action: Please keep your eyes open for funding opportunities for Wandsworth Digital. Thanks.
Governance and plans for 2021
The group agreed that Aaron would develop a small steering group (approx. 6 people from charity, public (Council and NHS), private sectors) to lead Wandsworth Digital, including developing a plan for 2021 with roles & responsibilities, targets and timelines. This steering group would also work out how it would involve the wider Wandsworth Digital network; as well as bringing in the private sector to the partnership.
Action: Aaron to lead on forming this steering group in January and report back to the wider network.
Date of next meeting
Meeting dates for 2021 will be agreed once the governance has been sorted in the new year.
Donate an old laptop
Until then if you’d like to donate an old laptop then please contact www.powertoconnect.co.uk
Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!