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Minister visits digital community project

Ed Vaizey MP visits Erith Park

Bexley residents were joined by the Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy Ed Vaizey MP as they supported Get Online Week, which launched on Monday 12 October.

Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey MP visited Erith Park in Bexley, to see how residents are using technology to build community engagement.

Using interactive suitcases that travel from person to person in the neighbourhood to record stories, residents at Erith Park showed the Minister how their community is championing digital engagement.

Ed Vaizey MP took part in the ‘Walk the Talk’ tour, which is where people can hear the stories recorded into the suitcases at six locations on the development.  He also saw digital voting posters and an interactive screen, both new community digital projects in development.

Resident Donna Wooton, who grew up in Erith and now cares for her elderly mother living in one of the new apartments in Erith Park, has been an enthusiastic contributor to ‘Walk the Talk’.

She said: “I’m not usually a great user of new technology but I’ve really enjoyed getting involved in capturing the collection of local stories. Now I’m looking forward to the other digital projects we’re setting up.” 

Meeting resident Donna, who demonstrated the interactive suitcases, Ed Vaizey MP said: “The work being done in Erith Park is brilliant and it's great to see Bexley taking part in the nationwide Get Online week initiative. Getting online and embracing new technology is becoming more and more important in this digital age, and I congratulate all involved in this innovative scheme aimed at using technology to build community engagement.”

Caroline Field, Orbit’s project manager for Erith Park, said: “We have been really lucky to work with innovative partners like Microsoft and the universities of Newcastle and Nottingham, who have worked with our residents to create imaginative digital engagement tools. We’re keen to use innovative tools to encourage people who wouldn’t usually find technology accessible to give it a try.”

Get Online Week runs from 12-18 October, to help show thousands of people how the internet and digital technology can make their lives a little easier. For more information visit www.getonlineweek.com

The transformation of Erith Park is being delivered by Orbit Group, in partnership with Wates Living Space, London Borough of Bexley and the local community. It has been given £23million affordable housing funding by the Greater London Authority (GLA). For more information visit www.erithpark.co.uk

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