Making a digital difference #GOLW16

21 October 2016

Our Individual Empowerment Manager, Vicky James, brings Get Online Week to a close casting a look back at some of our accomplishments over the last year.

I want to take this final opportunity to celebrate the work our Digital Inclusion teams do make a real difference to the lives of people living in our communities.

Shona* is soon to have surgery and her sister lives abroad. She needed some help to keep in touch with her as she doesn’t get much face-to-face time. We helped her download Skype and introduced her to having virtual conversations with her sibling.

We were worried Shona was at risk of social isolation as she’d be housebound after her operation. Having her own laptop means she can stay connected with the outside world, as well as ordering her food shopping and paying her bills online. We helped Shona research the best broadband package to suit her needs and talked about online courses she might like to take up in the future.

Money worries can be common in the months leading up to Christmas. Francesca* was struggling to budget and manage her money, but was also thinking about downsizing her property. As a starting point, we helped her get active on Homechoice in order to find a suitable new home online.

We then spent some time looking at Francesca’s expenditure. We found that by reducing her television packages and finding a new internet provider would save her money each month. It was great to see Francesca taking ownership of her finances instead of burying her head in the sand, and learning that there’s resources online she can turn to for additional help.

Claire* was really new to online technology, so our first step was to help her set up internet access in her home. She hadn’t realised she was paying for broadband as part of her television package, so it was something she’d just not taken advantage of yet. Then we set Claire up with an email address. She was really keen to learn more about the internet so we found an online course to teach her the basics at her own pace. What a turnaround!

Every day our aim is to make every contact count when talking to our residents about new ways to engage online. We’re always pointing people towards setting up a MyAccount for a simple, one-stop place where residents can pay their rent, log a repair with us, or check their tenancy details. We’re also carrying out surveys and resident engagement activities in a more digital way.

So, until next year, when we’ll return with lots more stories about how we’ve helped our residents go digital.

*Name has been changed