We're excited to announce that AAM are launching a series of Digital Inclusion Workshops, as part of our AbleWeb York community media programme. The workshops will tackle digital isolation by helping local adults with additional needs to safely access online information and services.
Over recent years there’s been an explosion in the amount of information available online. Some information is now solely provided in digital format. And with the growth of social media, a lot of social interaction now also takes place online. For people without much experience of using the internet, accessing all of this information can at times feel overwhelming and challenging. This can lead to people feeling excluded from vital services, from family and friends, and from information on local activities and community news. It can be difficult for some people, especially those with disabilities and additional needs, to gain the confidence and skills to be able to find trusted and relevant sources of information online. Thanks to funding from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Accessible Arts and Media are now able to offer specially tailored Digital Inclusion workshops. The sessions will be delivered by their AbleWeb York team to those who most need support in accessing information safely online.
AbleWeb York is a vibrant community media training programme run by AAM at Burton Stone Community Centre in Clifton. The programme is run for adults with disabilities and additional needs, offering training in computing and internet skills and in digital and social media. The AbleWeb team run an information website, www.ablewebyork.org, and work with local community groups to create films and radio broadcasts helping them to have a voice and promote the work they do. AbleWeb York also works with local volunteers, supporting different members of the local community to work together and support each other in a safe, inclusive and fun environment.
For the people who make up the AbleWeb York team, accessing information in digital formats used to be a real challenge. Through the tailored training and support they’ve received at AbleWeb, they now have the skills and confidence to access online information safely. They also know all about the equipment and online tools that are available to help people with additional needs to use computers and access the internet. Keen to share their skills and knowledge with others, they’re all now taking part in the AAM Apprentice Training Programme. They’re training to become workshop leaders and the Digital Inclusion workshops they’ll be leading will support other people to safely access information online. They’re proud to be part of tackling the growing problem of digital isolation for those with additional needs.
Creative Director Rose Kent says: “It’s incredible to see how our AbleWeb team have flourished and grown in confidence as they’ve trained with us. They’ve got a real insight into how overwhelming digital technology can feel to people who haven’t been given support to access it. They also all have very different learning styles and information format needs. This makes them some of the best placed to understand and to provide the different styles of learning and training needed by other adults with additional needs. When we support people to safely and confidently use the internet then we’re supporting them to make their own choices, to link up with friends and family and their local community and, vitally, to feel more included in this increasingly digital age.”
Helen Robinson, Community Grants Support Officer at JRF says: “We are very pleased to support this project as it is providing both the workshop leaders with the opportunity to develop themselves as well as others via digital skills training. It is envisaged that this positive role model and socially inclusive approach will be an enabling and empowering experience for all involved.”