Getting Online in Kensington and Chelsea

The K&C Digital Inclusion Partnership

Helping residents  get online is a Council priority. It has become even more important during the pandemic. 

Together with our partners in the NHS and local voluntary and community groups, we have formed the K&C Digital Inclusion Partnership.

The partnership is focused on helping our community get online and making sure that no one is left behind digitally. We are working to understand the needs of those who are digitally excluded, build their confidence and skills to get online, and support them to access the internet.

Digital Exclusion

What is digital exclusion?

Digital exclusion means not being able to use and benefit from the internet. 

Who is affected?

In the UK, 11.9m people (22 per cent of the population) do not have the digital skills needed for everyday life. This means things like communicating by email or video chat, using a computer to write a document, or using the internet to look up helpful information.

We estimate that around 12,000 borough residents are digitally excluded with some sections of the population being more affected than others. This includes:

  • older people
  • people with low incomes
  • people who don’t have a job
  • residents of social housing
  • people with a disability
  • people whose first language isn’t English
Why does it matter?

Digital skills make it easier to connect with loved ones, access information and services, and much more. Digital exclusion can also have huge negative impacts on our health and wellbeing, access to jobs and education and our finances.

The pandemic has worsened the ‘digital divide’, the inequalities between those who can benefit from everything the internet has to offer, and those who cannot. 

Without action it is predicted that in 2030, 4.5m people nationally (8 per cent of the population) will remain digitally excluded.

What are the key barriers?

For many, becoming digitally included is about overcoming the fear of being on the internet, understanding the benefits it can bring, and then building the confidence to make a start. There is also the challenge of being able to afford or get access to a device, getting it connected to the internet, and learning basic skills. 

What we are doing: 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 coordinating our efforts  to maximise our impact and reach into the community. 

The Council’s response sits under the Council’s Transitions Programme, and digital inclusion is recognised as a Council priority. 

How you can help

Help someone in your life who is digitally excluded

In June and July we interviewed over 800 digitally excluded residents in Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster. This showed that most people who are digitally excluded would prefer to receive help from family and friends. Here are some 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 .
 

Become a digital friend/champion

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. This may be for first-time users or those who want to improve their confidence with technology. 

If you would like to get involved, register your interest at digitalambassadors@communityfibre.co.uk.

Donate an unused digital device

Is there a laptop, iPad or other tablet (less than 10 years old) gathering dust in your bottom drawer? It could really make a difference to someone’s life.

We are working with Ready Tech Go, a local community organisation dedicated to providing equipment and support to residents. They can wipe, refurbish and rehome a second-hand device so that it goes to a resident who really needs it. Ideally, you’ll also be able to provide the charger, and you can wipe your device of data before donating if you would prefer to.

They can also accept older or faulty devices to be recycled for parts – all you need to do is mention this when making the donation. 

Drop off your unused device at the Central Library (next to the Town Hall). If you have a device but it would be difficult for you to get to the Town Hall, please email Digitalinclusion@rbkc.gov.uk to arrange for it to be picked up.

Last updated: 15 October 2021