As part of the Martha Lane Fox visit to Birmingham, we ran a workshop to engage people working in digital inclusion with those in economic development and regeneration; staff promoting jobs and skills with those advising businesses and helping communities. The aim of the workshop was to examine the importance of the digital inclusion of citizens and businesses (i.e. their access, confidence and competence in using digital technologies) to enable economic recovery.
Catherine Marshall, Member of the Digital Inclusion Task Force who attended the workshop has kindly provided us with her reflections on the workshop:
As a member of Martha Lane Fox’s Digital Inclusion Task Force, I was delighted to be invited to attend the event hosted by Digital Birmingham Yesterday
Supported by an impressive turn out of delegates from Birmingham City Council and the surrounding Boroughs the event gave an invaluable opportunity to discuss some of the barriers that prevent those who are most socially excluded accessing digital technology, and explore what intervention or strategies need to be applied to overcome these difficulties.
As always, there is no one size fits all, and as Digital Inclusion is inextricably linked to Social Inclusion, understanding the complexities of the task at hand is as intricate as the solutions need to be.
All recognised the solutions needs to be applied at grass route level; and being provided with snap shots of on the ground work that is taking place, is always a constant confirmation of this, proving how being digitally connected dramatically improves peoples life chances and opportunities.
The event was incredibly positive, acknowledging that getting people on line is a matter of urgency, and the need to make an impact, by promoting social responsibility and the common goal, with the need to encourage pledges from all areas including the private sectors, to get on board and work together to close the digital divide.
As Martha concluded, “working together, there is an opportunity to achieve something really special”
It is clear that Digital Birmingham has the determination to make a real difference and achieve the ‘really special’ results it is looking for.
Member of the Digital Inclusion Task Force