Digital Leaders Impact Awards 2022 Finalists!
We're thrilled to be finalists for our ongoing Digital Inclusion work, thanks to support from funders, partners and the volunteers involved. Whilst we would prefer that such a category as 'Digital Poverty' did not need to exist, we are passionate about taking a place-based and asset-based approach to contribute toward this being eradicated.
See below for a snapshot of our application form - the winner is now down to voting as it's the 'People's Choice' so if you want to give us your vote, we would welcome it and much appreciate it! We are 'Castlemilk Digital Inclusion Project'.
You can vote here:
We were asked to describe our organisation and project (in 150 words!)
We are Cassiltoun Housing Association, a small community-based social landlord in Castlemilk, Glasgow, an area of aspiration and activism however subject to structural inequalities resulting in wide-spread multidimensional poverty, including digital. Our project tackles digital poverty through an ambitious framework that has as its core a place-based and asset-based approach: local people are huge assets through sharing their experiences, time to upskill and support others, solutions, and their dusty or broken tech to be refurbed. We are regularly asked for advice and have been asked to speak at multiple conferences;the Community Woodland Association on our speedy redesign of our woodland programme to bring the outdoors in(from virtual woodland walks to online ‘doggy days’, this was a “lifeline” for many);at Generations Working Together for ‘Bangin’ Food ‘n’ Bingo’, to encourage older adults to access devices and Wifi;at Inside Government for our community capacity-building approach to Digital Champion training.
We were also asked what the 'core proposition' was of our project, again trying to squeeze it in to 150 words!
We tackle digital poverty, particularly with those who are traditionally under-represented, through a multi-layered approach that addresses key issues of digital disinterest, access to devices, data poverty and digital repair skills through innovative methods and partnership working. We have successfully;
- created digitals hook tackling digital disinterest, resulting in involvement based on people’s interests such as online art, cooking, virtual woodland walks and ‘Bangin’ Food ‘n’ Bingo, an intergenerational project designed by our Youth Advisory Panel that brings approx. 50 older adults together with 7 teenagers every month, in partnership with The Senior Centre
- enabled participation and meaningful involvement where community members make decisions on project delivery, shape funding application and have access to Digital Champion training to support friends, neighbours and fellow community members
- founded a Castlemilk Digi-forum; tackling wide-scale digital poverty requires a partnership approach. We bring together 11 local organisations to share skills, resources, and learning. With funding we organised Digital Skills training for these organisations to better enable them to tackle digital exclusion and created a shared Digital Inclusion Strategy that we collectively deliver
- created ‘Digi-know? Repair & Fefurb’ in partnership with The Repair Cafe Glasgow, to embed circular economy and skill development within the project for a more sustainable response to digital poverty
- developed a Digital Lending Library with ongoing resources to lend to individuals and partner organisations to tackle the immediate need of no devices or Wifi
The application asked us to consider what positive change we are making and to show any evidence for this...another challenging 150 word count!
We’ve sourced 170 tablets, 250 WiFi connections, 8 laptops, 8 desktop computers and 40 smartphones for those experiencing digital poverty alongside support to use beneficially: in 2021 alone we engaged with people 675 times. The change this makes is huge: Castlemilk has a population 14,000+ yet the only open access place to meet is a small McDonald’s. Tackling digital poverty means people can meet to socilialise -“ It really helps with the loneliness!””- are able to send photos to their Doctor, Zoom the Grandkids at Christmas, participate in activities-“ a lifeline during all this”- can do homework, can online shop rather than traveling to the closest supermarket (Castlemilk is a ‘food desert’). ‘Digiknow?’ saves people an average of £44 per visit - “This is a great thing you’re doing” -and we’ve trained 9 volunteers to be Digital Champions. Our Digi-Forum means change-making at an organisational level for the most meaningful and sustainable response.
We were asked how we plan to grow the project - we could go on and on forever about our aspriations for this. Luckily for any readers, we were restricited with another small word count again!
Digital Inclusion is embedded in our Community Development Strategy and so we are committed to ongoing tackling of digital poverty through both short and long-term goals:
- Continuing to seek external funding to build on the current project, most notably training further cohorts of Digital Champions and involving them in ongoing evaluation and project design on tackling digital poverty
- Build further community capacity by creating more upskilling opportunities for digital repair and refurbishment
- Develop the Digi-Forum to include other partners that can support with fulfilling our goals
- As part of our organisational Digital Transformation Strategy, further embed digital inclusion across all teams to enable a more streamlined and efficient way for tenants to access our services and other services that are increasingly only accessible online
- Ultimately create the infrastructure for a circular economy model with the skills, resources, and space required for a more sustainable, ecologically sound and hyper-localised response to digital poverty
And finally, we were asked to describe out Community Team!
Cassiltoun’s Community Team lead on this project with key people being our Community Development Manager, part-time Digital Inclusion Worker, Participation and Funding Assistant and volunteers. As a small team we have delivered outstanding efforts to tackle and mitigate against digital poverty,both internally and across the geographical area that we are based. This is particularly outstanding in a landscape of ever-changing working environments and where Digital Inclusion is one of our many projects that we deliver as we work to address key themes of capacity building, health and wellbeing, regeneration of greenspace, low employment opportunities and low income. Digital Inclusion is threaded throughout them all in innovative ways and include a Community Woodland, Community Arts, Community Garden, Creative Writing, Youth Groups, Volunteer Development Programme, Food Poverty and support other community group to tackle inequalities faced by many. Our team is highly motivated to work together and collaborate for the people they work alongside, evidenced by the huge amount of resources they have accessed, partnerships they have build, impact they have made and recognition they have received in their efforts to address the complex reality of digital poverty.
Thank you for taking the time to read and if you'd like to know more, please do drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Huge thanks to our many recent funders and organisations we've worked alongside:
- Scottish Government Supporting Communities Fund
- Glasgow City Council Glasgow Community Fund
- Community Calling
- Lintel Trust
- HSCP Wellbeing For Longer managed by Impact Funding Partners
- Digital Volunteers
- Mhor Collective
- Third Sector Lab
- Health Improvement Team
- The Senior Centre
- The Repair Cafe
- Nemo Arts
- All local organisations that are part of the Digi-Forum!