It has been 12 months since our Digital Champions Network for Housing (DCN4H) was launched and with 18 members and over 500 Digital Champions it continues to go from strength to strength.

As research shows that those with low levels of digital literacy prefer to learn new online skills informally by watching and asking others, developing armies of local Digital Champions can provide an effective solution to getting more people online. 

In September 2013 the DCN4H was launched for other housing providers and national and regional organisations to provide comprehensive and practical support to staff, volunteers and residents who are already digitally active and can help others to get online. It now has 18 members currently across the UK representing over 2.1 million people with more joining every month.

The Network offers seven structured and self-study e-learning courses on how to help and inspire residents to get and stay online. A friendly, moderated Digital Champion community forum offers daily support to share learnings and experiences and access to 44 downloadable resources and 400 online guides provides the essential teaching toolkit. Ongoing motivation and support for the Digital Champions both offline and online makes a further difference and all of the Digital Champion activity is tracked to help evaluate success. 

David Delaney is a Digital Champion for North Hertfordshire Homes and a full-time carer in Letchworth. He is passionate about digital technology and the difference it can make to peoples’ lives. He has completed all of the courses on the Digital Champions Network for Housing and is a regular contributor to the forums.

David said: “With everything going ‘digital by default’ and particularly with the introduction of the Universal Credit benefit system it’s so important that people are able to use the internet so they can cope with this new paperless approach. This is also the same for people who are out of work as job searching now has to be done over the internet for a certain number of hours, not easy if you’re not online or your nearest job centre is not close to your home.

“So the more we can help people to empower themselves and show them how they get connected at their touch of their fingertips, the more they can feel part of modern society.

“I help mostly older people to learn about using computers and tablets and try to make it as fun and informal as possible. I bought a Hudl last year which I’ve really enjoyed using so like to show others how easy being online can be using a tablet.

“Being part of the DCN4H has been really great and I enjoyed all of the seven courses which helped confirm the knowledge I already had and taught me new aspects too. Being part of the DCN4H gets people talking to each other, particularly via the forums and it definitely makes me feel like a Digital Champion. I’m looking forward to going on to help more people to enjoy life online”.


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.