About Discover Digital
The Discover Digital project was created to raise the bar of digital inclusivity across Stoke-on-Trent.
Research by Stoke-on-Trent’s Collaborative Network identified that young people, parents, and older people were three primary at-risk groups for digital exclusion.
After identifying the numerous barriers to accessing digital equipment and developing digital skills, a group of organisations from the private, public, and voluntary sector came together and formed a plan to help tackle the city’s widening digital gap. That plan was Discover Digital. This partnership project provided tailored support to improve their access to equipment and connectivity, digital skills, and online safety.
Following an award from Stoke-on-Trent City Council from their UK Community Renewal Fund allocation, Discover Digital used a carefully designed programme to address the city’s unequal access to digital technologies and online services through a number of ways:
- Digital Skills Training to help people gain confidence in using technology and accessing online services,
- Get Connected Grants to provide people with the funds to get the equipment and connectivity they need,
- The Digital Access Fund to help people overcome any barriers they may face in accessing digital including travel, childcare, software, and accessibility,
- Innovation Grants for local community organisations to lead small digital projects within their communities,
- Community Connectors to explore the everyday barriers the public face to accessing digital technologies and identify what is needed to overcome them, and
- Digital Champions Programme where participants can use their training to help support others that may feel less confident about getting online.
The project included a dedicated research team from Staffordshire University who ran consultations with different community organisations and in a pop-up shop located within a high-footfall area of a shopping centre the heart of the community. The research aimed to identify what people were doing online, what other things they would like to do, and what it was that stopped them from being able to do these things. This enabled the team to, amongst other things, identify community training requirements and find ways to increase digital engagement across the city.
By combining the Community Connectors research and by utilising existing community relationships, the project was able to increase participation and gather information from a large sample size.