This is how we delivered our basic digital skills pilots in Croydon and Lewisham.
Doteveryone employed three near-full time staff for a year to coordinate our work in Croydon and Lewisham, liaising with partners, leading our Deep Dives and acting as digital champions at events in the boroughs.
Croydon and Lewisham Councils each funded a project coordinator to act as the local lead and community liaison point. This was a full-time post in Lewisham but budget constraints meant this was only part time in Croydon.
Our sponsors, partners and community groups all contributed their time and expertise to design and deliver a wide variety of projects.
Hundreds of people across Croydon and Lewisham volunteered to become digital champions, each pledging to help at least two other people to gain digital skills. They included Lloyds Bank branch staff, Job Centre Plus job advisors, Metropolitan Police cadets, social housing staff, members of faith groups and community volunteers.
Finding places to deliver our digital skills pilots was not a major overhead. Most Digital Zones took place at our partners’ venues, for example at bank branches or retail stores, while our Deep Dives and Community Engagement projects were mostly based in community spaces, which were sometimes available free of charge.
Partner funding covered the costs of venue hire, catering, equipment and marketing materials for our launch and closure events.
The technology needed for our work depended on the project.
We asked partners to provide devices such as tablets and laptops for the Digital Zones, and sometimes learners brought their own device.
Some equipment needed to be specifically sourced for our Deep Dives. In some cases - such as the projects we did with Duka PC and Crisis - partners provided specific equipment. In others, for example the Deep Dive with MyBnk, we used our networks to borrow equipment.
For the Community Engagement projects, more established groups were able to provide their own equipment or arrange for people taking part to bring their own.
In Croydon, the Council refreshed their IT equipment in summer 2016, and allowed community groups to apply to buy the old stock through their community fund. By March 2017, 47 Croydon-based community groups were using the recycled equipment to help residents gain basic digital skills.
We gave advice to community groups about using the equipment. This included making sure that it was in a reasonable condition and fully functional, and that people followed good online security processes for shared equipment.
Many groups already had access to broadband or community wifi, but some needed to set this up.
We and our partners agreed that we wouldn’t produce new training materials, given that good materials already exist.
Some partners, such as Lloyds Bank, E.ON and Croydon Council developed resources such as ‘how to’ guides for their digital champions, tailoring guidance for the skills and experiences of their volunteers.
We set up three tiers of governance for the work. Each local authority set up a steering board to make sure that there was oversight of all the activity happening in each borough. Doteveryone set up a partner working group that met monthly to support information sharing. For each Deep Dive, we held regular calls amongst the participating partners to plan delivery, monitor progress and address issues.
We agreed from the start that we wouldn't set an overall budget and allocate amounts for each project, but manage project budgets on an individual basis. This approach went well, but also meant that we had to find additional budget when changes were needed, rather than draw down from an overall budget managed by Doteveryone.