GWSF launches new toolkit to help housing associations get people online

GWSFMany different options are open to housing associations which want to help local people get online.

That’s the key message from a new Digital Inclusion Toolkit for housing associations published by the Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations (GWSF).

Funded by Digital Scotland (part of the Scottish Government) and produced by Glasgow Kelvin College, the Toolkit is aimed at helping associations increase online access to social housing tenants, who are disproportionately less likely than other groups to have regular access to the internet.

As well as guidance on different ways of supporting people to get online, the Toolkit website has several case studies showing how different associations have approached the issue, including the provision of learning centres, often in conjunction with partner organisations.

GWSF chair Peter Howden said: “Housing associations are keen to help to tackle social and economic exclusion in their communities, and we know that lack of online access is a barrier to the job market, education and learning, saving money, and general social interaction.

“Also, tenants and housing associations will face big challenges as a result of DWP’s aim that 80% of Universal Credit claims will be made online.

“But it can be difficult for housing associations to know where to start, and to judge what they might do themselves and what might be done in partnership with other local organisations.

“We’re aware too how fast the digital world is changing. What was once an issue about PCs is rapidly becoming one that’s more about internet access through mobile phones. That’s why we want to keep the Toolkit up to date, and so we welcome any new case studies from members who have developed their own projects.”

See the Toolkit website here

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