AmicusHorizon is an award-winning social landlord managing 28,000 homes in London, Kent and Sussex. They joined the Digital Champions Network in January 2014 and now have more than 100 trained Digital Champions helping hundreds of customers with digital skills through 6,000 learner sessions…and counting.

AmicusHorizon, like the housing sector, is going through major changes. There are business challenges like the extension of voluntary Right to Buy and a four year programme of enforced 1% rent reductions. Many people face financial pressure through welfare reform.

Alongside this, people who are digitally included expect to contact their landlord whenever and however they choose. 

How Digital Champions are making a difference

At AmicusHorizon, home visits are the most expensive transactions at around £30. On average, calls cost around £3 and online transactions around 10p. At a time when every penny counts, the financial benefits of online self-service become obvious.

AmicusHorizon Digital Champions are helping reach their target of 70% of households aged under 70 years old using their customer portal (‘MyAccount’) by 2020.

Nathalie Harris, Digital Inclusion Manager at AmicusHorizon explained: “Our research showed that 1 in 4 customers had no internet access and many more lacked the skills to get online. Joining the Digital Champions Network was the first step in our digital inclusion strategy. It has given us a long-term, cost effective approach to getting customers connected and gives us the framework to manage and enthuse our growing team of volunteers.”

"Being a Digital Champion is very fulfilling"

Jackie Bradley works at AmicusHorizon in one of their local offices. She became a Digital Champion in 2014 and has, so far, enjoyed coaching more than 30 learners to use and enjoy the internet.

Jackie told us “I became a Digital Champion because I’ve always enjoyed helping and teaching others and was really pleased to find a way to do this as part of my day job. Most of the people I help are elderly and I take part in coffee mornings at local retirement schemes and events in our communities.

“I found the courses on the Digital Champions Network helpful for learning new things, particularly with job searching and saving money online. In fact, I wish I’d known this information in my previous roles!

“It’s rewarding helping older people realise what they can do on a computer or tablet. One 94 year old woman told me she went to New York this morning as she travels around the world from her armchair by looking up different countries and cities on the internet.

“I helped three sheltered schemes join up on Skype together to take part in a quiz. They were so amazed when they could see each other, waving at the screen and calling out each other’s names. Now they know what they’re doing, they regularly run Skype quizzes with each other, managing the whole process themselves.

“Being a Digital Champion is very fulfilling and I think it’s the ideal way to help people to be online. I encourage colleagues to join the Network too as giving something back in this really changes people’s lives.”



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What is Digital Inclusion

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