Congratulations Sunderland, commiserations Bristol
Sunderland has been revealed as the Government’s Digital Challenge competition winner and will receive £3m to deliver its plans for a digitally enabled community to benefit some of the most vulnerable and socially excluded people in the area.
As the winner of the Digital Challenge, Sunderland is now recognised as an example in how ICT can be used to tackle social exclusion.
Sunderland’s proposals will see the community benefiting from initiatives such as Community e-Champions working locally to help vulnerable people access computer and internet services, helping children failing at school and an e-mentoring scheme working for children and young people. The bid will also meet the needs of carers and children in care through a walkie-talkie (just one? Ed.) and panic buttons.
The Digital Challenge saw cities, towns and regions outline their visions for a digitally enabled society designed to meet the needs of local communities and citizens better. Since the finalists, which included Bristol, were announced last year, the 10 regional partnerships have been working together under the DC10 name.
Minister for Local e-Government, Angela Smith, said: “Digital inclusion is about more than new technologies. It is an opportunity to solve problems and improve the lives of people in our communities. As the winner of the Digital Challenge, Sunderland should be seen as an example of how the social and digital divide can be bridged and serve as a blueprint for future local partnerships.
“All the finalists have led the way in the UK and should be seen as true regional digital inclusion champions. Together as the new DC10 they will continue to galvanise thinking, unleash creativity and raise the agenda both locally and nationally.”
With the ten finalists moving from being competitors to collaborators, the Digital Challenge has demonstrated how a cross-Government, cross-sector initiative can flourish.
I’ve yet to see any sign that Sunderland has achieved anything that could be “recognised as an example” of ICT tackling socail exclusion 🙁