Get Digital Homelessness Initiative to Provide Digital Skills Training
Two of Scotland’s leading homelessness charities have launched an initiative to help homeless people learn digital skills needed to access opportunities online.
Edinburgh-based charity Streetwork and its Glasgow-based sister charity, Simon Community Scotland, have received a Scottish Government grant of £250,000 to provide nationwide digital training and support for people experiencing homelessness.
The initiative, called Get Digital, aims to make online services and opportunities more accessible to people and will include advice on how to look for accommodation, applying for jobs, accessing welfare benefits and connecting with friends and family.
People already in regular contact with the two charities will be able to take digital skills assessments, and access support and training straight away, the organisations said.
Kate Forbes MSP, Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy, officially launched the nationwide scheme at an event in Edinburgh last week.
Commenting on the initiative, Forbes 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 please to support a programme like this that has the potential to change so many lives for the better.”
Throughout the rest of 2019, more than 250 staff members at Streetwork and Simon Community Scotland will be trained as ‘Digital Champions’, which will enable them to provide critical digital skills support for people in need.
Get Digital is working alongside the SCVO’s One Digital programme and the Mhor Collective to help develop and deliver the ‘digital champions’ training.
The tools, training and support will then be shared with a range of homelessness service providers across the country, with the aim of creating a nationally-recognised programme.
Jamie Trout, digital inclusion programme manager at Streetwork, is heading up the scheme. Trout emphasised the importance of digital skills development in tackling homelessness, which can “open up an entire world of opportunity” for people in need.
He said: “Without digital skills, people experiencing homelessness face a real barrier in trying to find solutions to their situation. Through Get Digital, we are opening up an entire world of opportunity.
“Using their newly-acquired skills, people can begin accessing the online world and the opportunities it brings. With so many aspects of our lives accessed through digital channels, digital inclusion is essential to empower people to bring about change in their own lives.”