Brighton Unemployed Centre Families Project trains 14 volunteers using the Digital Champions Network

group of people sat around a table chatting

Over the past 2 years, the Digital Brighton & Hove team worked in collaboration with the Brighton Unemployed Centre Families Project (BUCFP), training up 14 volunteers and 2 staff through the use of the Digital Champions Network (DCN).

Their staff and volunteers have helped just under 1,000 service users through their drop-in centre and the accredited training and development also enabled some of their volunteers to find paid employment.

Alex Pritchard, Volunteer Coordinator at BUCFP, shares how valuable the access to these free online resources was for the BUCFP volunteers:

“The DCN has been a vital resource for our digital support team at BUCFP. It is used by both staff and volunteers to aid our drop in digital inclusion project.

We support people in severe poverty and crisis. Our digital support project offers one to one, drop in support for Centre Users to get online, access emails, social media, update their CVs, job applications, apply for further education, access government services online and much more. We are a small grassroots organisation with limited funding available for volunteer training opportunities and learning resources.

Therefore having such a comprehensive resource such as the DCN available to us for free, has enabled our volunteers and staff to feel confident when offering digital support. Last year our volunteers provided 400 (3h) drop in digital support sessions to over 600 people.”

Alex Pritchard

One of the trained BUCFP volunteer Digital Champions, Dawn, had completed the Accessing government services online course on the DCN and was able to assist one of the centre’s users. The user praised the support they received from Dawn:

“I found the website very confusing to use at home, so booked an appointment here. Dawn logged me straight in and helped me complete the application. We need more services like this. Dawn was very helpful and patient and I am grateful to the staff & volunteers here for all they do.”

BUCFP service user

Digital Brighton & Hove’s Community Digital Champions were also able to deliver four workshops for over-55s at the centre, focusing on ‘Getting started with Facebook’, ‘Getting started with Whatsapp’, ‘Getting Started with a tablet & smartphone’ and ‘How to stay safe online’. Alex confirmed that such courses are very useful and they hope they can run some more in the future: “These courses were attended by 15 participants. All participants reported an increase in digital confidence having attended these courses”.

As of May 2019 the Digital Brighton & Hove project has recruited 436 Digital Champions; delivered 6,944 digital skills support sessions; supported at least 4,503 individuals; and engaged with 241 organisations. Read our final Evaluation and Impact report.

For more information about the Digital Brighton & Hove project, please contact David Scurr.