Digital Inclusion – essential, not a ‘nice to have’

For many people in Cleethorpes, being ‘locked in’ is also being ‘locked out’. As we’ve been forced to shift to online shopping, do zoom sessions with family, book GP appointments online, order prescriptions, keep in touch with family or simply keeping informed about the latest Covid-19 activities, having the internet and the ability to use it has become essential.

Big Local North Cleethorpes recognises this and is trying to help. We want to help residents of North Cleethorpes to be better able to use technology and the internet to be able to engage properly with others.

If you’re lucky enough to have access to a device and the internet but you just need more advice on how to do things, then firstly visit www.digitalunite.com/technology-guides where there are literally hundreds of simple to read guides on doing almost anything with technology. Take it slowly, read a guide and hopefully you’ll make some progress. We’ve also got a dedicated Tech Talk space on the new, private, North Clee discussion website that Big Local has created. Register yourself on there for a chance to ask questions and get support with your tech questions.

But we’re much more concerned at the moment with residents who have no computers, tablets or perhaps even mobile phones; and those who have no wifi or internet at home or available to them; and are therefore completely unable to get online in a useful way.

Other people may have some basics – like an old tablet perhaps or a simple smart phone, or even an old laptop that just about works. But the technology is failing them or their skills and knowledge so far don’t let them meaningfully use the internet.

Perhaps if you are reading this you know of someone like this who needs support? Refer them to us and get them to call Karl at Big Local (01472 897337).

We’ll first find out what they have and what they need. We can provide advice and suggestions as to how to get online most easily and affordable. But importantly, it may be appropriate for us to loan or provide some equipment that helps someone more isolated and vulnerable to get online. We might be able to provide a refurbished laptop or tablet; or we could provide a wifi-hotspot device; or we could cover other minor costs involved in getting setup with tech and getting started.

So – please refer isolated people who are interested in getting online to us to see if we can investigate a way to support them.

But if you have an old device that still works but you don’t need, perhaps let us know and we can see if it something we could reuse for the benefit of someone local.

Contact Karl Elliott at Big Local via karl@vanel.org.uk or 01472 897337 for more information.

We’ll be putting more information about the support we can offer on our project page for “Digitally Disconnected” here.

Visit the Tech Talk space on the new NorthClee discussion forum here (you’ll need to register for free if you’re connected to North Cleethorpes in some way).