Digital Inclusion

Giving Digital A Go

During the 2020-21 Covid pandemic it was essential that DIY continued to offer creative opportunities, to support peoples’ health and wellbeing as well as to develop their creative skills. Because we could not meet together face-to-face, DIY decided to run all our regular sessions and courses online, as well as sending out packs by post and calling people on the phone.

When Lockdown was announced many DIY members had yet to access digital technology. None had used online conferencing technology like Zoom before. As a result, DIY had to find ways to support and encourage our members – both adults and young people with learning disabilities – to start using digital technologies to get together.

Getting to see where everyone’s at and to see how well everyone’s doing in this crazy, crazy time, and it’s about us sticking together.”
Youth Drama Club member

We’re improving our drawing skills and doing different activities every week.”
Online Communication Through Craft participant

Promoting Digital Inclusion

At first I didn’t like Zoom because all I could see was a small little box but every time I’ve come on Zoom I’ve got more confident and got used to seeing people in little boxes.”
DIY Young Leader

Throughout a series of Lockdowns, DIY members continued to experience significant barriers to digital technology including:

  • Lack of affordability of equipment.
  • Lack of skills and confidence.
  • Lack of familiarity with digital platforms.
  • Poor or unaffordable internet connection.
  • Lack of confidence / skills of those working with / supporting DIY members in their homes

In response, during 2020 DIY raised funding to buy equipment through the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, which meant we were able to distribute tablets and routers to members during early 2021.

We set up Inter-Connect, a Digital Inclusion project, funded by NHS Salford CCG and Salford CVS via their CV-19 Disability Response Fund. This enabled us to employ a Digital Inclusion Coordinator, Molly Stedman, and establish a series of “Creative Conversations” for those new to online platforms. We have

  • supported members to access technology / equipment
  • run a series of regular Let’s Get Digital sessions to support people to develop their digital skills
  • set up one-to-one sessions to increase skills and confidence of to access DIY’s online sessions (Tuesday Company sessions, visual arts session and drama session, Friday Group and/ or Youth Arts Programme)
  • run visual arts sessions with deaf people with learning disabilities in partnership with The Housemartins

During 2021 DIY worked with our Associate Artist, Hilary Easter-Jones, to document our digital inclusion project and create a film to support people with learning disabilities, their families and carers to “Give Digital a Go”.

Guide to getting started on Zoom

All DIY’s groups and courses are currently being offered via Zoom – a free online platform. Click here to see the ‘How-to-use-Zoom’ Easy Read guide, (thanks to Learning Disability Wales for the use of this resource).

Our Digital Inclusion project has grown from the darkness of COVID19 but captured the beauty of connection & friendship.

To share this project online, follow DIY on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, encourage others to #givedigitalago #learningdisabilities to see more and keep up to date. (Click the links below to find us on social media.)

Many thanks to our funders:

Logos of our Digital Inclusion Funders; NHS Salford CCG, Salford CVS, Arts Council England and Greater Manchester Combined Authorities.