Getting Online in Kensington and Chelsea

The K&C Digital Inclusion Partnership

During the pandemic, the Council and our colleagues in the local NHS, third sector, and more, established the K&C Digital Inclusion Partnership. We are working with many local community groups and regional organisations, coordinating our efforts so that more support is available for our residents to get online and be able to confidently use the internet.

The benefits of being online

Not being able to use the internet is called being 'digitally excluded'. This includes not knowing how to do things online and not having access to an appropriate device or an internet connection. Being online helps people connect with friends and family, find out information and pursue interests, as well as access services. It helps us save money as services and products can be cheaper online. We do not believe anyone should be forced to use online service, but we want to make sure that no one feels “left behind” or that digital tools “aren’t for them”.

Help to get online

Useful online resources to get started

We know from speaking to residents that most people who feel like they can’t use digital tools prefer to get help from a friend or family member. With that in mind, here are some additional sources of information you can use to help a loved one with things like creating an email address, staying safe online, and much more.

Citizens Online Freephone digital skills helpline

For help to get started using technology or to get support to learn how to do more online, please call 0808 196 5883 and leave a message. A trained digital champion will call you back and offer friendly, patient support over the phone.

Learn My Way

These are free courses for you to learn digital skills to stay safe and connected.

Digital Unite Technology Guides

400+ technology guides are available  on a range of topics, including how to get started using a computer for beginners, and how to use the internet safely.

Age UK Getting started on the internet

Covers device accessibility, using social media and Whatsapp and that can be done online day-to-day.

My Computer My Way from Ability Net

This talks about adaptations which will help disabled users to use the internet more easily.

The Government's Skills Toolkit

Free courses from the National Careers Service to help learn new skills or change jobs, including sic Computer Essentials courses.

Get in person-support from a local volunteer

Come along to a drop-in session to get help from one of our resident or staff volunteers. These are held in one of our libraries or community digital hubs. You can either bring your own device or use one of the ones on site. We will be able to help with your queries so you can learn to do things online confidently.

You can find us at:

  • North Kensington Library, Tuesdays, 10am to 12pm
  • Brompton Library, Thursdays, 1pm to 3pm

Volunteer with us

The K&C Digital Inclusion Partnership is looking for volunteers to help people get online. You would be offering advice, information and support to a resident, including things like helping them set up an email or WhatsApp account, or research topics they are interested in.

You don’t need to be an IT expert, you just need to feel comfortable with using a device for everyday use, and come equipped with enthusiasm and patience to help members of our local community.

If you would like to get involved, register your interest at [email protected].

Digital Switchover

The UK’s telecoms network is being upgraded. Telecoms systems are what allow us to communicate with other people in a fast and efficient way, including telephone networks, radio broadcasting and the internet. All old phone lines made of copper are being replaced with newer systems that carry voice calls over the internet.

This will make the network more reliable and easier to maintain. This upgrade is being carried out by the telecoms industry and is expected to be complete by December 2025. It is being rolled out at different times in different areas so look out for letters from your phone provider. This process is being supported by Government to ensure users are protected.

In most cases, the changeover will be simple, but there may be some things you need to do to keep using your landline. Here are some useful things to know:

  • If you are already connected to a digital phone line, i.e. you access your landline through your broadband router, this shouldn’t affect you
  • Many phones will keep working when you are switched over, but they will need to be plugged into your router or a new socket.
  • Some phones might require an adaptor.
  • Older phones might need to be replaced.  Some people might also require a new router. These should be supplied by your provider.
  • Providers have committed to offering at risk and low-income consumers a solution at no additional cost. Residents who are disabled, older, isolated or on a low income and who are not already in contact about this issue should contact their landline provider to alert them about their current circumstances. Providers will then arrange to send appropriate equipment.

If you have other devices or services connected to your existing phone line, like a care alarm, smoke or security alarm, it is important to check whether the device or service will work over the new technology. You can check by contacting the company who provided the device or service or by checking the manufacturer's website.

If you use telecare devices that are supplied by the Council, you will be contacted to arrange the changing over of your device, and we’ll help make sure that you’re comfortable using any new devices.

Residents won’t be forced to pay for broadband services that they don't want or need. Their digital phone service will work using a special dedicated broadband connection and shouldn't cost any more than what they pay now.

Customers interested in broadband but worried about costs can explore lower cost options.

Last updated: 6 February 2024