Tackling social isolation through digital drop-ins

 Glenn Liddall, Founder & Head at People Know How
 27th Apr 2018

This week we’re opening our 12th Digital Drop-In , funded by the Digital Participation Charter Fund. Through the Drop-In we provide people with friendly, informal help and support with basic digital skills, with a range of partner agencies across Edinburgh. People are free to use our laptops or can bring their own devices to get help. Our volunteers are there to answer any questions they may have and offer their knowledge, helping people with the things they want help with.

In designing the project people told us early on that they didn’t want training. They wanted friendly help with the things they wanted to do – not a course.

One of our volunteers said: "There are real classics - 'can I get an email account?', 'I've email but I forgot the password - what do I do?', 'I want to get on the housing list - can you help?', 'I want to get a job but everything is online - can you help me apply?', 'my friend knows when the bus is coming - can I get that on my phone?' - it's just everyday things that most people ask about.

"Most of all people seem really anxious about using a computer or digital devices. It's good just giving people time, and being patient with them to build their confidence. It's really helped me volunteering too. I had a bit of difficult time before joining People Know How. I just love it! Being part of the team. It's ironic really how me helping other people has helped me! I've really got my confidence back and can see a future now.”

At People Know How we've developed our service with a real focus on tackling social isolation and loneliness, benefiting our volunteers and the people they support. We call ourselves a social innovation organisation and all our projects go through four distinct phases.

We always ASKpeople what they need and for their ideas and solutions – our strapline is “unlocking your ideas”. We then look at RESEARCH and gather an evidence base to design our projects. Then we get to the DO stage and run a project. We then love to SHARE LEARNING through blogs like this, and this autumn we are running a series of events sharing the learning on all our projects.

Hear more about our Digital Drop-ins and watch our film here.

Thanks to all our other partners – it just wouldn’t be possible without the space, hospitality and WiFi connections (!!) you offer: Streetwork,Corstorphine Hub,Craigentinny Community Centre,Laichfield,Leith Community Centre,St Margaret's House,Ripple,Bield,Social Bite‎,Edinburgh Tenants Federation,Norton Park andDr Bell's Family Centre.

Have a digital project idea? Find out more about applying for the Digital Participation Charter Fund.