Stratford District Digital Inclusion Grants have been awarded to seven voluntary and community organisations across Stratford-on-Avon District to help communities get online and take advantage of the expansion of superfast broadband.
The successful groups are:
Alcester Town Council
Bearley Village Hall Trust
Bidford Community Library
Heart of England Mencap
Long Compton Parish Council and Village Hall Committee
Southam Church and Community Project and
Warwickshire Vision Support
A range of innovative applications were received and this funding will now increase access to WI-FI in community venues, enable volunteer trainers and digital champions to help people use technology including mobile phones, tablets and laptops. Local residents’ IT skills will be improved through young people sharing skills with older generations; loneliness and isolation will be addressed; support will be available for vulnerable adults and visually impaired residents marginalised by the digital revolution.
In addition, funding has also been awarded to several more deprived areas including Maybird and Bishopton in Stratford and Lighthorne Heath to enable residents to increase digital skills with support from volunteers. The initiative seeks to enable households without access to current technology to use price comparison sites to reduce utility costs, video call distant relatives, access job opportunities and provide access to homework resources for young people.
Cllr Dave Riches, Enterprise, Revenues and Housing Portfolio said: “Increasing digital skills and confidence provides residents with many opportunities. People who acquire digital skills can benefit through the wider choice and lower prices available when shopping online, can access local information and keep in touch with family and friends which can be important factors in helping to reduce isolation in our communities.”
The Digital Inclusion Grants programme has been made possible through funding of £40,000 provided by Orbit Heart of England to support collaboration and partnership across the district. Voluntary Action Stratford-upon-Avon (VASA) has been working in partnership with the District Council and Orbit to provide support to communities and groups in their application.
Simon Lieberman, Community Investment Manager at Orbit Heart of England said “We are delighted to be involved in this project and provide this funding. As our world becomes more digital, it is so vital for us to provide support for our customers and communities to help them get online and develop their digital skills. We look forward to seeing all the fantastic outcomes this project brings.”