Technology support and training launched in North Birmingham

IT training boosts wellbeing and helps residents access services.

With Covid-19 restrictions having forced offices, community centres and public libraries to close Witton Lodge Community Association recently launched IT training and support classes to keep people connected during the pandemic.

The sessions, which started at the beginning of October, are designed to ensure people gain the skills and confidence needed to use a computer and keep them in contact with their family and friends.

Employment and Skills Tutor, Ruby Begum, delivers the training. “The lockdowns and other restrictions have resulted in a lot of people across North Birmingham becoming marginalised,” she said.

“This has led to higher levels of digital poverty across the community. With people being denied the opportunity to access crucial support services – something which puts them at greater risk of isolation and mental health problems – we decided to launch this new support service.”

In addition to teaching people the practicalities of using a computer, the training also equips them with the skills to access important online services.

“The main benefit of the training is to help people in the community to get educated on how to use modern technology,” adds Ruby.

“Using the Internet and email has, for many reasons, become a necessity. It helps people to check online for benefits, to be able to use their bank or pay bills online.

“The sessions are delivered in an informal way, so learners feel comfortable and are encouraged to participate in class. The training is tailored to address the specific needs of each individual, incorporating activities and roleplay scenarios of how IT is crucial and relevant in daily life.”

The sessions, using flipcharts and PowerPoint presentations, are delivered face-to-face on a Monday and Tuesday at Perry Common Community Hall and online via zoom with the use of tablets and laptops. For candidates who do not have access to IT devices or have no wi-fi in their home Witton Lodge’s newly established digital lending library – Digital-All – enables learners to borrow laptops and tablets for a period of up to three months with a SIM card which provides them with Internet access.

“It is now even more important for people to educate themselves to use modern IT technology and equipment as this can also help break social barriers, allowing people to utilise their skills to get involved in activities which benefit their wellbeing.”

For more information on the IT training, which is funded through the Erdington Neighbourhood Network Scheme, please call Ruby Begum on 0121 382 1930.

For details on the digital lending library, Call Paul Tse on 07875 292513.