We’re highlighting some of the inspiring Civil Society case studies gathered for our ‘Connecting Cranes with Communities, How can the WMCA Create Inclusive Growth’ report (download here)
Funded by Coventry Building Society since 2016, this programme provides one-to-one digital support to clients who need help to build their confidence and understanding of using computers in their everyday life to manage their bills, apply for benefits or access services and accounts.
Client empowerment: development of digital confidence and digital skills to improve their financial capability and encourage individuals to be able to complete further online tasks themselves in the future.
Coventry Building Society
WHAT LESSONS LEARNT HAVE INFORMED THIS PROJECT
Confidence with completing tasks online has been a prominent barrier for individuals. Smartphones and tablets make access to the internet more easily available, but there is still concern or hesitation to do things online without support from someone with the ‘experience’ or ‘know-how’.
To date 710 sessions have been held with 606 unique individuals throughout Coventry.
£1,427,769.16 in financial gains achieved through new or increased welfare benefits, trust funds and discretionary grants, or switching bills and making savings. 70% of individuals reported an increase in their digital ability following the session, 71% said they felt more confident to deal with things online, 68% reported an increased in financial confidence and 60% stated they would use the internet more frequently following this support.
WHAT WENT WELL
Diversity of those supported – included: from carers; students; full time workers; those with long term health conditions; people aged between 18 and 84 years old; and from 41 different nationalities. As well as diversity, there was flexibility of support requested from simple tasks such as creating email accounts, to completing benefit applications.
WHAT NEEDED TO BE IMPROVED
Encourage empowerment and confidence-building with all clients seen and provide further support and engagement for those where it was required.
WHAT COULD BE DONE DIFFERENTLY
Greater tie-ins with other projects and services to ensure all clients receive opportunity to develop digital skills, for example all those that receive debt advice are offered opportunity for Digital sessions to find out about budgeting tools, benefit calculators and switching services to help them manage their finances long-term following money advice.
RECOMMENDATIONS TO OTHERS DOING SIMILAR PROJECTS
The digital world is constantly changing with new services, applications and options becoming available, but for many individuals there is a lack of knowledge or skills even with computer basics. This should be a consideration for Digital projects, as well as a focus or awareness of specific online tasks such as welfare benefits.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE PROJECTS |
With welfare changes and other developments making it a difficult environment for many individuals and increasing demand for advice services, and with a difficult non-profit sector for charities to operate within to try and meet this demand, greater empowerment of clients and encouragement of self-help should be a key aspect for future projects.