The digital device and connectivity lending scheme - run by City of Wolverhampton Council and city partners – has linked up with the Digital Inclusion Guidance Information Technology And Learning (DIGITAL) Online programme established at Gloucester Street Community Centre in September.
Wolves Online has provided digital devices to loan to participants and the means to connect to the internet so they can develop their digital skills at home.
Each participant is also assigned a digital online mentor, who supports the participant from entry to progression. The mentor is highly skilled and fluent in most forms of digital technology and enables participants to have a sense of purpose, improve self-motivation and develop problem-solving skills and perseverance.
Other partners on the programme are the ESF Community Grant and West Midlands Police, and to date the centre has supported over 30 participants, with 50 per cent aged 50 or over.
DIGITAL Online Centre co-ordinator, Julien Muteba, said: “With digital technology impacting the economic, personal and social aspect of our lives the DIGITAL Online Centre is ensuring an inclusive digital strategy in Wolverhampton.”
Participant, Lola Dunkley, added: “To take part in everyday services just to survive, such as shopping, health services, paying bills, I have not got the digital skills. I am keen to learn the basics of the internet and digital technology to use it safely."
City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Digital City, Councillor Obaida Ahmed, said: “The City of Wolverhampton is committed to digital inclusion. It is fundamental, not a ‘nice to have’ – and programmes like the DIGITAL Online Centre at Gloucester Street - supported by Wolves Online - are critical to our strategy.
“Digital is the primary means of connection and access to essential services and digital skills are crucial for economic resilience and growth, providing a gateway to jobs, progression, social inclusion and cohesion.
“It is crucial all residents can benefit by ensuring they have the devices and connectivity to get online and improve their life chances - we fully recognise how critical and life-changing connectivity can be.
“The Wolves Online scheme is just one initiative as part of our wider work on being a fully digitally inclusive city.”
The DIGITAL Online Centre is always on the lookout for more funding opportunities and volunteer mentors to support the growing numbers of participants coming into the centre.
Anyone interested in the programme should contact Julien Muteba by calling 07930 000739 or emailing email@example.com
Find out more about Wolves Online at Digital Wolves.