Rotherhithe goes online

1 February 2023

The computers at Rotherhithe's community library

The RJ4All Community Centre received a grant at the end of 2021 to launch Rotherhithe Goes Online, a project designed to address the gap in free educational resources and access to the internet for marginalised groups in south-east London

It built a modest community library fitted with much needed ICT infrastructure, which included three PCs and several tablets. It then offered free IT access and phone calls during the week, as well as small-group training sessions to teach people how to use the internet and stay safe online.

Furthermore, RJ4All ran workshops during the school holidays for young people and developed a free e-course in various languages on how to use IT and the internet, covering topics such as email and social media, and gathering information on education, employment and health. This was especially important as, at the time, the country was still in the midst of the pandemic and there was a lot of misinformation being circulated. The e-course was unique, highly interactive and encouraged local residents – especially migrants and refugees – to become digitally included and increase their chances of employment.

Dr Theo Gavrielides, Founder and Director of RJ4All, summarised the project: ”In the short term, we have managed to connect our service users to a range of new IT infrastructure supplied by the WCIT Charity. These have made a daily difference in the lives of our users. In the long term, this project has improved our capacity as a digital hub for both local service users and migrants from beyond the UK. In delivering the Rotherhithe Goes Online project and providing a free and holistic set of services we are not only providing stability and support to disadvantaged communities, but tackling the main causes of poverty. We are learning that when the community’s basic needs are met, whether those be in the form of shelter, clothing, food, or mental, social, and physical wellbeing, only then can we begin to achieve a reduction in antisocial behaviour and disproportionate disadvantage.

To date, 199 local people have benefitted from the activities and facilities funded by the WCIT Charity.

Dr Theo Gavrielides concluded: “I am very proud of what we have achieved over the last few months and I hope that your generous donors feel the same.”