Get Online Week: OCT 19 – OCT 25

Digital Inclusion during Covid-19

This year has shown us just how much of a difference the internet can make to our lives. But too many people are still being left behind, without the skills or access they need to benefit from being online.

The benefits of being online during lockdown were huge. Video calls helped us to safely see our loved ones. Digital tools meant that millions of people could work from home, and children could keep up with their schoolwork. And for those people for whom even a trip to the supermarket was a significant risk to their health, internet shopping was a lifeline. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for everyone. 9 million people in the UK can’t usethe internet or their device without help, and 4.7 million people don’t have any digitalskills at all. These people were left even more isolated than the rest of us.

The pandemic proved that the internet is a key utility for everyday life, and knowing how to use it is an essential skill. And it’s something many of us take it for granted.

Every year #GetOnlineWeek highlights and raises awareness of the importance of digital inclusion. These shocking statistic spell out why the campaign is so important, now more than ever.

4.1M people are not online in the UK
11.9M people are estimated to have low digital skills or interest

With our support, our members have been getting to grips with digital tools and getting online. Over the pandemic we visited and supplied digital kit to members who were isolated, offering training to them, their carers and support staff over the phone during lockdown. For example: how to access and use Zoom, login to social media sites or install Whats App Chat so that they could take part and join in with the activities and support we were offering online.

Thanks to funding from Good Things Foundation we now offer tailored weekly Digital Sessions to improve digital skills which is enabling our members to feel more confident in using digital tools. Our members are learning how to connect with each other on Zoom or social media and access the range of services and information the majority of us take for granted. All our sessions at Leep1 include some form of digital learning such as the use of Apps during Art and Design, playing online quizzes, job searches or using search engines to look up recipes ideas during cooking groups.