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Affinity Sutton’s mission to get residents online

 

Years after the launch of our partnership with Affinity Sutton housing association, we are delighted that Affinity Sutton have set up a new stream of funding that will support their residents to get online.

The Digital Communities Fund is an excellent example of how a Donor Advised Fund at The London Community Foundation can be used to address an area of identified need amongst a specific group of people: in this case residents of Affinity Sutton housing estates.

Approximately 73% of Affinity Sutton residents consider themselves to be ‘online’ compared to 91% of those in private rented accommodation. ‘Get Connected’ is Affinity Sutton’s campaign to get residents online: building their skills, confidence and motivation to use the internet to their advantage. As the world becomes increasingly reliant on the internet and technology, the benefits of getting online are clear.  Recognising the complex and different reasons for a lack of digital connectivity, the Affinity Sutton Digital Communities Fund has three key themes that address the various issues surrounding digital technology.

Online safety for all age groups

The Digital Communities Fund aims to build the confidence of those who are unfamiliar with the internet, to ensure that they remain safe online by helping them identify and avoid potential scams and recognise when it is appropriate to give out personal information. This issue is particularly prevalent with older residents that have not had much exposure to technology before. Beneficiaries of the fund are not limited to the older generation however. One of the projects supported by youth charity JusB, facilitates online safety homework clubs for young people and highlights some of the dangers associated with using the internet. Workshops cover social networking, clickjacking, sexting, chat rooms, inappropriate sites and cyber bullying.

Opportunities for employment

Alongside Affinity Sutton’s Ready to Work and Re Train grants, the Digital Communities Fund will also enable individuals to research and apply for job applications online. This means that Affinity Sutton residents will be able to access opportunities for career development that may not have been available to them before; for example searching for jobs, signing up to careers websites and connecting through professional networking sites like LinkedIn.

Reducing isolation

Through increased understanding of how to use social tools such as Skype or Facebook, residents are becoming more connected with their family and friends, which will reduce isolation and promote social inclusion. For example, older people who have families based abroad will be able to reconnect with their loved ones and discover how powerful the internet can be for maintaining these relationships.

We are excited by the potential the Digital Communities Fund has to help promote the internet as a positive and powerful tool, and look forward to hearing about the successes of the projects that have been supported. 

Published on 18 September 2015

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