Leading housing association L&Q has enlisted Digital Unite to deliver a three-year digital inclusion programme aimed at getting more of their 130,000 residents online.   

The programme follows on from L&Q’s successful Digital 300 and Digital 400 initiatives which provides residents with bespoke computer tuition, equipment and internet access and further reflects their commitment as a signatory of the UK Digital Inclusion Charter.

Starting in April 2015 the multi-layered programme of activity is underpinned by L&Q’s membership of Digital Unite’s Digital Champions Network which trains and supports local volunteers to become effective Digital Champions.

Digital Unite’s additional support includes developing and delivering a Digital Champion recruitment plan, utilising a dedicated volunteer co-ordinator to manage and inspire L&Q’s Digital Champion community and programme evaluation and project tracking.

With research showing that computer beginners prefer to learn informally by watching and asking others, developing armies of Digital Champions is becoming a key way for organisations to provide their communities with sustained and local digital skills support.

Digital Unite’s Digital Champions Network is a flexible online platform that provides Digital Champion training and a support community for people who go through that training. It currently has 20 member organisations and over 700 Digital Champions. 

Mark Rowe, Financial Inclusion Projects Officer at L&Q said: “To be online our residents need and want regular, one-to-one personal support and having a team of trained and enthused Digital Champions will enable us to provide that. Through our existing membership of the Digital Champions Network we have seen the huge potential of giving Digital Champion volunteers the right support. We are now much looking forward to working with Digital Unite to take this activity to the next level and beyond”.

Kathy Valdes, Managing Director of Digital Unite said: “Digital Champions programmes are conceived on a principle of capacity building. It builds residents’ capacity to use digital technology and to help each other use digital technology. It also builds capacity within organisations so they can deliver essential sustainable and hyper-local support and ultimately transact with their communities in a simpler, clearer and faster way. We are excited to be working with L&Q on the next stage in their digital inclusion strategy and to help them realise the full potential of their Digital Champion army.”

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