Carr Gomm is a social care and community development charity, providing person-centred support to over 4,000 people each year to live their best possible lives. The online shift of vital services and community connections during the pandemic highlighted the need for digital inclusion to be recognised as a fundamental human right, and an essential component of high-quality social care support. As a result, we launched our Digital Inclusion Research Project (DIRP) in 2021 to learn more about the digital needs of people we support – and staff – to ensure everyone has the opportunity get online in a safe and meaningful way.
Using action research methods, DIRP collaborates with frontline Carr Gomm services to develop bespoke approaches to digital inclusion support. Each team is supported by dedicated Digital Ambassadors; upskilled Support Practitioners with a passion and motivation for sharing their digital skills with people we support and their wider teams.
Over the past two years, our services have explored digital in various ways, including:
• Supporting people at risk of homelessness to continue their education online
• Upskilling people to host online social events, like sing-alongs and cooking nights
• Empowering people to take their hobbies and interests to the next level (e.g., learning how to DJ professionally)
Our existing, trusting relationships have served as a crucial foundation for people we support to build their digital motivation, confidence, and self-belief. We are already in the lives of thousands of people at risk of digital exclusion each day; and that is how we achieve long-lasting impact.