Connect Lockleaze project wins prizes for tackling digital exclusion
The Connect Lockleaze project is being widely recognised for its achievements in helping people who do not have online access to vital services.
The project brings together UWE Bristol, Hewlett-Packard (HP), the Lockleaze Neighbourhood Trust (LNT), Lockleaze Primary School and Early Years Centre and the North Bristol Advice Centre (NBAC). It has created three state-of-the-art information technology (IT) venues where Lockleaze residents can come to learn what the digital world has to offer, or refresh and develop their skills.
Almost one in three UK homes does not have an internet connection, meaning these members of society are potentially disadvantaged and in danger of being left further behind as more services are moved exclusively online.
The project has just won the Partnership Award for its work on IT and skills training in Lockleaze at the recent West of England Community Learning Partnership Awards. Gail Bowen-Huggett, Training Development Coordinator for the Project accepted the award on behalf of the partners.
She said, “Connect Lockleaze is giving people the skills and tools to help themselves. This is what can happen when an international corporation, a University and neighbourhood organisations all get together.”
Connect Lockleaze also ran an event for Spring Online Week 2013, a national campaign to raise awareness of the need to stay digitally updated. Out of 107 events entered, this event was chosen as one of the finalists and was awarded a runner’s up prize presented by Joan Bakewell at the National Digital Conference in London.
Jo Earl, Project Officer at UWE, said, “Connect Lockleaze is a brilliant initiative where a local community is given the resources needed to combat digital exclusion.
“We have done a lot of work over the last year with people wanting to get some basic IT skills and learn to do things online that many people take for granted. With an estimated 26% of households in Lockleaze and Horfield without an internet connection, the fact that we can offer free and open access to three computer suites with WiFi is of huge potential benefit to the local community.
“UWE students have been volunteering in a variety of roles, from tutoring basic IT skills to providing technical support to maintain the PCs. They have run drop-in sessions for people who want to ask questions or try out something new in an informal environment. In a recent collaboration with MShed, they assisted members of the public in creating digital stories, piecing together interviews and images into short videos. They have helped us to provide a broad range of activities and learning opportunities.”
The project has also been shortlisted for a Nominet award, which will be announced in July, and for the Institute of Money Advisers (IMA) Performance award for Best New Initiative.