I started as Digital Inclusion Coordinator at Lifeshare in 2021 as part of their ‘Manchester Digital Collective’ thanks to our funders Global’s Make Some Noise.  This year, in May we have decided to focus on the issues that prompted the founding of the MDC in 2020 including digital exclusion, data poverty, and the importance of building digital skills for education, employment, and carrying out everyday tasks like making an appointment with your GP.

In a typical week, my work includes developing the MDC’s online learning platform, designing and running digital inclusion workshops to deliver to our clients and partners, and assisting service users with a range of online tasks from setting up an email address to applying for jobs. I also work to promote the MDC to raise awareness of the issues related to digital exclusion. Did you know that an average of £348 more is spent each year on bills in households without digital skills? Our increasingly digitalized society means that being online is now a necessity to help people access those savings along with so many other benefits!

What is special about being a Digital Inclusion Coordinator?

My role is unique in that I get to witness first-hand the benefits individuals can reap when using technology and it is amazing the difference it can make! During a digital inclusion workshop, an individual mentioned they had no way of contacting family and friends who were not on social media. Together, we set up an email address from which they could stay in communication with their friends and family. In the following workshop, the individual expressed their gratitude and stated they were in more regular contact with their wider network.

My work also includes encouraging people to get involved in the MDC. This may be by donating an unused device, contributing £7 each month to refurbish a tablet for someone in need, or by joining as a partner to help build courses and spread information about how to access digital inclusion resources.

Favourite Memory at Lifeshare:

Volunteering at the Lifeshare Christmas Project. As a new starter, I was keen to get involved with Lifeshare’s long-standing volunteering opportunities. The amount of effort, resources, time and goodwill provided by volunteers and organisations was heartwarming; while having the opportunity to chat with attendees really solidified the need for these sorts of services in the community.