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New Digibuddies scheme to help Lambeth residents get online

Digibuddies article

27 January 2014

Thames Reach’s Employment and Resettlement Team is working in partnership with Lambeth Council to deliver an innovative new IT service to help local residents get online.

“Lambeth Digibuddies” will use volunteers with strong IT skills to support residents with online activities such as applying for benefits, email, opening bank accounts and buying goods and services. The scheme will take place at local venues such as day centres and libraries.

The aim of the project is to increase awareness of the advantages of being online and to ensure that no one is excluded from using digital technology whether due to lack of experience or skills.

Jonathan Stuart, the Employment and Resettlement Team’s senior practitioner, is in charge of volunteer recruitment. He says that gaining access to the internet can also enable people who experience isolation to feel socially included, and that being online can improve mental health.

“It is widely accepted that access to the internet has many benefits. People are most motivated to use digital technology when they understand its relevance to their own situation. A good example of this is downloading their favourite song or keeping in touch with friends and family. Through interacting with and being supported by a digibuddy, it is hoped that people will gain new skills and develop confidence.”

Thames Reach hopes to recruit up to 75 digibuddies during a nine-month pilot period that starts at the end of February.

Further information can be obtained by emailing the Employment and Resettlement Team: erhelpdesk@thamesreach.org.uk or calling 0203 617 6070.