Getting more of our residents online
Digital inclusion: Helping more of our residents get
Affinity Sutton is committed to helping more of its
160,000 residents access online services.
shows that getting someone online saves them an average of £560
per year, and has benefits for education, employment and
retirement. The introduction of Universal Credit later this year
will also mean that going online is the only way to apply for and
manage Universal Credit applications for the majority of those in
receipt of benefits.
research shows that 69% of our residents now have access to the
internet – which is growing but still below the national average of
75%. Unsurprisingly access varies greatly with age and those aged
18 -44 are four times more likely to have internet access than
those aged over 75.
As one of the largest providers of affordable
housing in the UK, Affinity Sutton believes it has a pivotal role
to play in bridging the digital divide for all of its
residents. We view digital inclusion as both a business and a
In order to tackle digital exclusion at a
sector level, Affinity Sutton has signed up to the Race Online
2012 business pledge and become a member of the Social Housing
and Digital Inclusion Strategy Group where we are playing an active
role in contributing to the delivery of their action plan.
‘Get Connected’ is Affinity Sutton’s campaign
to get residents online, giving them the skills, motivation and
access to the equipment needed to access online services on a
regular basis in order to improve their lives.
First launched in 2011, it seeks to improve
- Access to computer equipment
or internet connections;
- Attitude towards and
perceptions of the internet and its relevance in everyday
- Skills, confidence and
capability to use online services;
- Since its launch, the campaign has already
had a big impact:
- Enabled 703 digitally
excluded residents to get online
- Given away 50 recycled
computers to residents and contacted a further 427 who applied for
the scheme to see how Get Connected could help them
- Set up four regional digital
hubs across the country
- Recruited 94 Get Connected
Digital Champions from our communities
- Awarded £7,500 in
community grants to projects across the country providing
equipment, software and internet access.
In 2013 Affinity Sutton wants to build on this
success with a new commitment to help even more residents Get
Connected. This year we are partnering with Stone Computers to
offer residents low cost recycled computers - complete with
software - to improve computer access amongst its residents. We
will also be relaunching our national competition for residents to
win recycled computers.
A key part of our approach to tackling digital
exclusion is through recruiting and training more Digital
Champions. Affinity Sutton is working with Digital Unite to train
and support an army of local volunteers to help other people get
online in their communities. This programme will offer
training, ongoing support, equipment and grants to resident Digital
Champions. Champions work with family, friends and their wider
community either on a 1 to 1 or group basis to provide practical
help, tailored to individual circumstances, engaging and
encouraging people to see how using the internet can benefit them
and become a part of their lifestyle. Over time, we plan to add
further learning modules to the programme to equip volunteers with
a wider interest with the knowledge to offer basic guidance and
signposting on key issues such as welfare reform.
- As one of the largest
providers of affordable housing in the UK, Affinity Sutton believes
it has a pivotal role to play in bridging the digital divide for
all of its residents, seeing digital inclusion as both a business
and moral issue.
- Get Connected is Affinity
Sutton’s campaign to get residents online, giving them the skills,
motivation and access to the equipment needed to access online
services on a regular basis in order to improve their lives.
- Helping our residents Get
Connected is just one way we are helping them get ready for welfare
reform and the introduction of Universal Credit in April 2013 when
new claims will need to be completed online.