Reducing the digital divide for tenants
Our Digital Inclusion Team, Scott Tandy, and Conor Chip, tell us how working with Cardiff Metropolitan University and the National Databank has helped to reduce the biggest barrier to digital inclusion.
In today's digital age, accessing the internet and digital literacy have become essential in all aspects of life, including education, employment, and healthcare. However, many social housing tenants face barriers in accessing digital support and education. At Newydd, we have worked with Cardiff Metropolitan University and the National Databank to provide our tenants with access to digital materials and support.
The 'Digital Strategy for Wales' introduced by the Welsh Government in March 2021 shows the importance of having a minimum digital living standard for Wales. This standard explains the devices, broadband speed, mobile data, and basic digital skills that are needed for individuals to be digitally included in modern Wales. The COVID-19 pandemic showed us the importance of digital inclusion, as 30% of social housing tenants still experience 'data poverty.'
Through the support of Cardiff Metropolitan University and the National Databank, operated by the Good Things Foundation, we have been able to provide PCs and stable internet access to our tenants at no cost. This project has allowed tenants to search for jobs, visit educational platforms, and health services using suitable devices. This has improved their digital literacy and opened doors to new opportunities.
Working together has allowed us to receive 14 SIM cards a month from the National Databank. This gives us the flexibility to identify tenants who need our help. Working with our Financial Inclusion Team and Housing Department, we have shared these SIM cards for both mobile phones and mobile Wi-Fi routers with our tenants who are in need. This approach has helped a wide range of tenants, including people aged 55 and over undergoing employment training, single parents in their early 20s who are studying whilst raising children, and recently homeless tenants who now need access to financial support.
As well as sharing SIM cards, we have started a 'Donated PCs' project to benefit our tenants. This year, Cardiff Metropolitan University generously donated 25 PCs and monitors, which we have repurposed and given to tenants who do not have devices. These PCs have proved to be essential to many tenants, helping with their children's education, allowing them to search for jobs, and connecting them with vital health services. Some tenants have even used these devices to take part in employability courses and gain qualifications.
The Welsh Government's commitment to a minimum digital living standard, with the diverse range of tenants benefiting from the Good Thing Foundation and Cardiff Metropolitan University's initiatives, shows the importance of digital inclusion. Access to digital materials and education should be available to everyone, regardless of barriers such as cost, education, and time. This was true before the COVID-19 pandemic and has become even more clear during and after it. Digital access and education should be recognised as a basic human right, falling well within the work of all Registered Social Landlords to provide such opportunities.
We are committed to offering digital materials and support to Newydd tenants a. If you would like more information, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Together, we can empower our tenants and ensure that digital inclusion becomes a reality for all.