We were delighted that Chief Executive Bill Tidnam, the Head of Fundraising Rosie Oldham, and their colleagues Alessy Beaver and Rob Edgar, were able to join WCIT members at Information Technologists’ Hall to share the success of the iReach training programme delivered by Thames Reach.
Over eight years, funding has helped the homelessness charity support 4,500 participants, deliver 1,200 digital skills courses and equip 1,800 people with key digital skills. Essential Skills Coordinator Alessy and Digital Inclusion Worker Rob talked about the impact the programme had on individuals and on the charity itself, but acknowledged the challenge of continuing to tackle digital inclusion alongside their clients’ other needs. A Thames Reach focus group in May 2023 revealed that 31% had no access to an internet-enabled device and 38% said they always relied on others to provide digital assistance. Unfortunately, many of the clients they support – often the people who are most reliant on public services and support – are disproportionately affected by lack of digital skills and access.
Although the funding has now come to an end, the WCIT will continue to foster a collaboration with Thames Reach by way of the Homelessness Panel.