Kicking off the national “Get online week” today, one of London’s largest housing associations has launched a new digital inclusion programme to help residents use the internet and get online.
L&Q, which owns more than 70,000 properties in London and the South East, has invested £82,000 in its Digital 300 Project to provide 300 residents with computer skills, equipment and internet access for a year.
A recent survey showed that out of 2243 L&Q residents more than 37 % had no access to the internet. More than 46% of the survey respondents with no access to the internet or computer skills are in receipt of benefits and regularly have to renew their benefit claims.
L&Q’s Digital 300 project will support residents affected by welfare reform through out the digital transition, providing IT skills to boosts their employability and help them apply for jobs online to avoid them feeling left behind.
Ciaran Porter, L&Q Financial Inclusion Manager said: “We have received great support from Helen Milner, CEO of the UK Online Centres whose advice helped us to put together our digital inclusion plan so we can help our residents get online.
“It’s very important that our residents have regular access to the internet and know how to use a computer, especially now that most government services will be moved online.
“As a social business we also want to encourage and help those affected by welfare reform to find employment and we are doing the upmost to help our residents to get there.
“We believe that employment is the key to breaking away from long term reliance on benefits and through Digital 300, residents will gain the necessary IT skills to improve their employability and help them manage their finances and payments online.”
Graham Walker, CEO, Go ON UK, said: “It can be hard to imagine life without the web. Yet a staggering 11 million UK adults still don’t have the basic online skills to take advantage of its huge and varied benefits.
“That’s why it’s vital that housing providers such as L&Q provide opportunities to boost residents’ digital skills. Not only can smart use of technology reduce inequalities, but provide crucial access to jobs, savings, services, health information and more.”