Helping get the homeless online

Crop getdigital

The initiative aims to make online services and opportunities more accessible

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7th March 2019 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

Homeless people in Scotland are to be given the chance to learn digital skills.

This will give them the chance to access opportunities online – and it’s come about thanks to an initiative by two of Scotland’s leading homelessness charities.

Edinburgh-based Streetwork and its sister charity, Glasgow-based Simon Community Scotland, have welcomed a £250,000 Scottish Government grant to provide nationwide training and support so that people experiencing homelessness can gain the necessary skills to take advantage of digital technology, such as mobile phones, laptops, desktops and tablets.

The initiative – called Get Digital – aims to make online services and opportunities more accessible.

This includes looking for accommodation, connecting with friends and family, using online maps, accessing welfare benefits and applying for jobs.

People who are affected by homelessness will find their often regular contact with Streetwork and Simon Community Scotland will now include a digital skills assessment, training and support.

Kate Forbes MSP, minister for the digital economy, officially launched the project.

She said: “Digital should open doors for everyone. The Get Digital programme recognises the power of digital to provide those affected by homelessness with the opportunity to improve their digital skills and achieve their goals.

“The Scottish Government is very proud of the strong relationship we have with Streetwork and Simon Community Scotland and are pleased to support a programme like this that has the potential to change so many lives for the better.”

Lorraine McGrath, chief executive of both charities, said: “The Get Digital campaign is a great new initiative that we are sure will change the status quo for those affected by homelessness. It will provide users with digital skills that most of us take for granted and will encourage them to feel comfortable in the digital age.”

Get Digital is working with the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations’ (SCVO) One Digital programme and the Mhor Collective to develop and deliver training for staff.

In the coming months, more than 250 staff members at Streetwork and Simon Community Scotland will be trained as digital champions, following which they will begin providing support to people experiencing homelessness in learning digital skills and engaging with the digital world.

The Get Digital tools, training and support will then be shared with a range of homelessness service providers across Scotland with the aim of creating a nationally-recognised programme.