For the first time, a comprehensive map of the places people can go to ‘get online’, or access digital skills training has been published by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.
The map is completely open access for use by the general public, but obviously, if people aren’t already online, they may struggle to access it themselves! So, of equal, if not more importance, is that staff and volunteers from front-line service providers across voluntary/community/faith and public sectors are aware of and can access the map, so that they can advise their service users about local places they can go to get online or access IT training.
For all too many people, digital inequalities in terms of a lack of skills, access to a computer, the Internet and digital poverty in general remain key barriers to inclusion; which have arguably been exacerbated by the current cost of living crisis. Digital exclusion limits people’s ability to do so many things that more fortunate people take for granted, like access online public services (health, local authority, housing providers, etc.); shop and make savings online; search and apply for jobs; connect with friends and family; and pursue personal interests.
We know that conversations about these kinds of issues often arise across all kinds of service areas, but staff/volunteers don’t always know where to direct people to. By accessing this map, now they will!
Please share this with colleagues across your organisation and networks to help spread the word.
The map has been produced in partnership with VOLA Consortium, as part of a research project into community-based digital inclusion services that VOLA recently undertook on behalf of the Combined Authority. It will be regularly reviewed and updated to keep it is accurate as possible, rather than a one-off thing that soon becomes outdated. The research report will be circulated to organisations that participated in the research and other key strategic bodies, but if you would like a copy of it, please email email@example.com.
The map currently contains community-based provision including Voluntary, Community, Faith and Social Enterprise sector organisations, local libraries, Local Authority Adult and Community Learning departments, Further Education colleges and Mersey Care Life Rooms. Digital skills provision offered by independent training providers will be added to the map in the next phase.
Not on the map and think you should be? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell them. As part of their research ,VOLA endeavoured to capture as many Digital Inclusion service providers as possible, however they know that there are likely to be others that did not hear about, or were otherwise unable to respond to the survey. So if you know of other places you think should be included on the map, get in touch and let them know.