Free Digital Skills support for adults after Croydon Council secures funding.

August 10, 2023

Addressing the digital divide, Croydon Council has achieved a significant milestone by securing grant funding to enable adults facing online challenges to access digital skills courses, workshops, and drop-in sessions at their nearby libraries.

The library service in Croydon has been granted funding by Arts Council England to support a comprehensive three-year initiative. This program is designed to aid communities in becoming more proficient with modern technology using their personal devices. The ultimate goal is to empower residents, promote online safety, and alleviate feelings of isolation.

Named the “Connect Up Croydon Digital Inclusion” program, this effort is primarily geared towards vulnerable adults, including older individuals, persons with disabilities, the unemployed, homebound citizens, and those who speak English as a second language.

The program has been thoughtfully designed to adapt to the needs of participants. It offers guidance on accessing essential online services, such as benefits, while also providing assistance with fundamental tasks like setting up email accounts or downloading applications, catering to individuals new to the digital realm.

ClearCommunityWeb, a local social enterprise with extensive experience in assisting those without digital access or feeling overwhelmed by technology, will spearhead the program. They will train library staff and volunteers, enabling the establishment of an ongoing initiative to provide digital support across Croydon’s network of libraries. These libraries already provide free WiFi and access to the internet through library PCs.

The initiative is set to equip residents with the skills to access online services and connect with family and their wider community. Participants will receive demonstrations on a range of devices including desktop computers, mobile phones, tablets, and various other online platforms they wish to explore.

Participants can anticipate engaging workshops, tapping into the library’s online offerings including free e-books and audiobooks. Additionally, they will learn to access information and secure event tickets, such as those for Croydon’s London Borough of Culture, reaching out to groups that might not have otherwise participated.

This initiative marks a significant stride toward a more inclusive and digitally competent community in Croydon.

Jason Perry

“It’s essential that our residents have opportunities to gain digital skills so they can access online services and not feel isolated from their local communities.  We are delighted to have secured funding in partnership with ClearCommunityWeb and look forward to working together to help residents get online.”

Jason Perry, Executive Mayor of Croydon

Caspar Kennerdale, Managing Director, ClearCommunityWeb said: “We are excited about deepening our programme throughout the Croydon library service as well has to help strengthen grassroots relationships with the local community.

“Exclusion from services, support and learning opportunities, digitally, can affect both the mental health and cost of living for Croydon residents. Our community-based and person-centred approach helps break down barriers, builds trust and provides access to new learning.”

ClearCommunity Web is a Get Online London partner, helping people to connect digitally. More information about the wellbeing benefits of the digital skills programme can be found on this Get Online London video.