Catalyst Mutual Enterprise CIC is now working with the Department for Work and Pensions, Digital Birmingham and Birmingham City Council (Financial Inclusion Partnership) to deliver Digital and Financial Literacy Birmingham – a program to help people develop the digital skills they need to connect with the world.
Some of the lowest rates of internet use in the UK are in the West Midlands, on par with remote parts of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland where poor connectivity is to blame – 22.7% of people in Sandwell in the west of Birmingham, for instance, have never been online or have not used the internet in more than 3 months, according to a report from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). The West Midlands also has comparatively high numbers of unemployed, economically inactive and elderly people, as well as large BME communities.
As more and more services put their primary portals for access online, those without the ability to use the internet and digital devices risk exclusion and isolation. From job-searching, managing money and accessing discounts on household bills, using NHS and care services, to social and political engagement – a lack of digital skills is a considerable disadvantage.
Catalyst will be delivering tutor-led workshops to build skills from the foundation, including:
- learning how to use digital devices of all kinds;
- setting up email and social media accounts online;
- accessing financial services, from claiming Universal Credit to banking online
- creating CVs, using online job-searching sites and completing applications
- being energy literate and making informed decisions in managing energy and other utilities
- accessing health services to make appointments, order prescriptions and find advice and information
Equipped with these skills, learners will be able to navigate the internet and online services safely and confidently for all of their needs. The Digital and Financial Literacy Birmingham (DFLB) project is ultimately about supporting and enabling people in the most deprived and financially vulnerable areas of Birmingham – starting in St George’s, Newtown. Gaining the digital and financial capability will help them adapt to the change in Universal Credit claim process and open up further learning and employment opportunities.
We will be working to help the community benefit from a more inclusive neighbourhood, to be better informed in making decisions about their health and wellbeing, to manage their energy use, to have increased employment prospects and the ability to make financial savings. The DFLB project is anticipated to run until June 2018 and hopes to engage 1000 households.
For further information, please contact Catalyst Mutual Enterprise CIC at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0121 607 1798.