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How do you turn a digital inclusion strategy into a coherent reality when everyone involved is doing it a bit differently? How do you get them to do the same thing?

Digital Kent was set up by Kent County Council to improve digital inclusion across the county, linking and supporting digital schemes and creating one of the biggest networks of volunteer Digital Champions in the UK.

But how do you tie together different districts, organisations and individuals who all have different start points and priorities and get them to pull together to deliver progress? We talked to Bryony Goble & Chloe Johnstone about setting up and running their diverse network....

Kent’s a huge county with 12 different districts, each with its own way of doing things. Digital Kent’s strategy was not to create new organisations but to network them together and build on what exists already. But with lots of different organisations there are lots of...

  • Different aims and priorities
  • Different ways of running existing digital inclusion projects
  • Different levels of training across the projects

So now do you try to make them all the same? Answer: you don't!

“We encourage people to do their own thing and if they are, fantastic!”

Some of the core of Kent's success...

  • Collaborate not control
  • Rely on local expertise
  • Don’t expect the same solution to work in every area
  • Don’t expect every council work in the same way – make relationships that help you understand their priorities

And once you’ve got your network up and running, keep supporting the difference...

Different champions want different things from the role, and bring different qualities to it. Play to those strengths and build on them. 

“It’s about empowering people to do what they’re good at. Not proscribing”

You can read more about how Digital Kent set up their network and how they manage their volunteers and keep it running

What do we do?

Find out how we can help you run successful digital inclusion programmes. 

What is Digital Inclusion

Why does it matter? And what can be done about it? We've pulled together some great resources.