What is digital inclusion?
Digital inclusion is the process of working with people and communities to ensure they can get online through supporting individuals to develop their digital skills, helping people to explore their connectivity options, and ensuring devices and services appropriately meet a person’s needs. However, there is currently a significant digital divide in Scotland meaning that some people are digitally excluded.
The Scottish Household Survey (2019) highlighted that 71% of people with a long-term physical and/or mental health condition regularly use the internet in comparison to 94% of people without a long-term condition. At Carr Gomm, we support over 2,000 people every day who are at increased risk of digital exclusion; including people with complex communication needs, individuals being discharged from psychiatric hospital, and older people living with dementia.
In February 2021, we launched our Digital Inclusion Research Project to learn more about the digital needs of people we support, and Carr Gomm staff, to ensure everyone has the choice and opportunity to get online in a safe and meaningful way.
What does Carr Gomm’s Digital Inclusion Research Project do?
Our Digital Inclusion Research Project is a process of action research led by our dedicated Digital Inclusion Researcher, Shannon. To date, Shannon has collaborated with people we support, Support Practitioners, and Managers across fifteen Carr Gomm services to develop person-centred approaches in providing digital inclusion support. Each service is supported by a team of Digital Ambassadors ; upskilled Support Practitioners who are passionate about sharing their digital skills with people we support and their wider teams.
Our services have explored digital inclusion in various creative ways, including:
- Upskilling people we support to host online social events, like sing-alongs and cooking nights.
- Trialing fun apps, like the Innovate Trust’s Insight App, to increase opportunities for meaningful social connection for people with complex communication needs.
- Supporting people to use digital to meet their everyday needs (e.g., learning how to safely shop online).
- Supporting people to continue their education and career development online.
- Designing accessible, enhanced support plans to ensure people we support have an active voice in their support planning.
Learning from the project is helping to shape our approach to digital inclusion across Carr Gomm, ensuring that having the opportunity to be supported to get online is no longer seen as an add on or extra, but instead a fundamental human right.
To find out more about our Digital Inclusion Research Project, get in touch with Shannon: firstname.lastname@example.org