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Martin Lewis- The Digital World and Me

Citizens Advice Calderdale want to encourage our older residents to engage with the digital resources available to enhance their lives through increasing social engagement using Skype, and Facebook, through increasing monetary saving.

Citizens Advice Calderdale

on 24 January 2017

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Transcript of Martin Lewis- The Digital World and Me

The initial idea
Martin Lewis Fund

Our goal was to research the engagement of older people in the local area with digital media.

The world is becoming biased towards those who are digitally aware. Many people who were educated before the explosion of digital media are becoming increasingly both socially and economically disadvantaged by their lack of knowledge.

Citizens Advice Calderdale want to encourage our older residents to engage with the digital resources available. We see this participation as something that could potentially enhance their lives both socially, through increasing social engagement using Skype, and Facebook and also economically through savings using comparison websites and Freecycle.

Patterns we found
How the process will work
Our chosen method of data collection was questionnaires. This would provide quantitative data for ease of analysis.

With two people attending each session we had enough support to help people complete the questionnaires as well as discuss them in small groups. This allowed us to pick up common themes.
Our research has shown a huge lack of confidence in all the main areas of digital use but, especially in managing finances,
On a scale of 1-7, 63% (indicated marks of between 1 and 2) lacked confidence using online banking. This rose to 77% when they considered pension / benefit activity.

We also found that it wasn't just the 'big stuff' that concerned people. Often people also needed some support in trouble shooting e.g. ensuring items are charged and helping them to save and retrieve work.
What will we do with our findings?
Citizens Advice Calderdale are using these findings to apply for funding to provide a trainer to roll out a range of bespoke courses for our local residents. These sessions would support and enhance the varying interests of the local groups.

The process of engaging with the digital world needs to be de mystified by encouraging a playfulness with the technology which would boost confidence and encourage further exploration.

We would develop a Learning Plan specific to each group which would help them to initially engage with the technology through their existing interests. For example art class groups would initially focus on using a drawing app on a tablet, keeping them away from the standard 'threatening' technology of laptops.

The training has to be something they value, either through saving money, reducing social isolation or by simply having fun.

Skills need to be practiced so there needs to be a plan in place to continue using and developing their skills even after the training is complete.

First steps
Partnership working
We have a close working partnership with Age UK who work with older people across the Calder Valley. They have highlighted the social isolation and increasing poverty of their clients in our area.

We support the Safe and Warm Homes initiative managed by the Housing Department of Calderdale Council. This scheme refers clients with high energy bills to us for support.

A significant proportion of these referrals have never changed their energy supplier. Support with this activity could save them considerable amounts of money which they could use to keep their homes at a higher temperature and keep healthier.

SUMMARY- What we learned
There is a huge polarisation of people within groups, some which enthusiastically engage in digital resources and some which don't. Using the peer support already available within existing groups this could be an opportunity for us to facilitate peer mentoring in these groups.

Those people who do not engage directly appreciate the value of digital technologies but they are often fearful of making mistakes and 'loosing stuff'. They use friends and relatives as a buffer getting them to research and bank online on their behalf but, this lack of control of passwords etc can leave them vulnerable.

Key Findings
Citizens Advice Calderdale
The Digital World and Me
We held consultations with local specialist groups including Age UK.

At this time we also started to gather valuable secondary research.

We decided that we would use paper based questionnaires to hand out to local older people.

We visited the 'over 50's' community groups in their own spaces. Preparation included scheduling and arranging dates well in advance in order to reach a variety of participants.

People are more likely to be digitally active if they live with someone
Females had the best attendance at the groups.

We found that there were some people who felt they had no need to use technology in their every day life.

Many others had specific barriers which restricted their involvement, many of these could be overcome with some specialised targeted support.
Key financial findings
47% of the people we asked didnt feel there was anything that would encourage them to learn. 28% of those asked felt that practical training on specific issues would be helpful.
Our local research has shown that there is a polarisation of skills within our target group with 58% of the group seeing themselves as being digitally inexperienced.
Our research has shown that 61% of people who live alone do not currently engage with technology.
We found that of those who were digitally active 16% used only one application
Full transcript