Here, Gabi Woodhams - Tinder's Funded Network Manager - describes what she found when she visited Fabrick Housing's Digital Deal project in Middlesbrough
On a frosty Monday morning I travelled to Middlesbrough to meet with Fabrick Housing and Vela Housing - the partnership delivering a Digital Deal project in the North East. I was met with breakfast which was a lovely surprise. Before the meeting started I met with Madaline who is one of 3 apprentices recruited as a result of this project and she told me about the drop-in sessions she runs at various resource centres run by Fabrick and Vela for their residents. The sessions are very learner-centred and Madaline allows the learners to pick what they want to learn. Madaline has registered the resource centre she is based in as a UK online centre so that she can use Learn my way to further engage with residents.
To date, 10 kiosks have been installed and are fully operational giving residents 24 hour access to the internet. They are located in the foyer of nine high-rise blocks and in one rural location. Usage is increasing month by month demonstrating that publicity and training is paying off. 24 residents have completed ‘digital champion’ training with partners - The Hope Foundation, Shaw Trust, MFC and Silver Training. Since the project started 268 residents have been supported by an apprentice, 192 residents have signed up to self-serve, 178 residents have used self-serve to report repairs and there have been 7,007 self serve transactions to pay rent.
Later in the day I visited a high-rise block where Pat, one of the residents, was being shown by a tenant liaison officer how to access the internet on one of the kiosks. Pat attends the drop-in session each Monday morning to gain digital skills and found the kiosks to be very user-friendly. I’m looking forward to seeing the impact of the kiosks and how the installation makes a difference to the lives of the residents as well as a difference to the social housing providers.
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