Wales Co-operative Centre Starts £2 million Digital Inclusion Programme

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Funded by the Welsh government, the Wales Co-operative Centre will begin a digital inclusion program called Digital Communities Wales, an extension of the Communities 2.0 project, which began in 2009.

Communities 2.0 was a financial inclusion programme that focused on developing social businesses and created 74 full time jobs. The project helped participants gain access to the internet. More than 60,000 Welsh people benefitted from the programme, 347 of which directly received jobs as a result of the training.

Communities 2.0 encouraged “digital leadership” among groups “such as local authorities, housing associations and national or regional support organisations’ as well as supports social businesses and other co-operatives such as Pembrokeshire Machinery Ring.

Digital Communities Wales is a two year programme that will train more than 400 organisations on digital inclusion. The Wales Co-operative Centre seeks 500 volunteers to help 15,000 participants use the internet every year. The progamme will focus particularly on those with specific needs such as people with disabilities and the unemployed. If successful, the programme may continue for an additional two years.

Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, hopes the digital inclusion project “will build on the success of Communities 2.0 and help more people to benefit from using the internet.” She hopes such advances in digital inclusion will help improve lives, particularly in terms of employment prospects.

Given the more than 50,000 in Wales who are currently not online, this is clearly an incredibly important initiative for the state.

Source: Anca Voinea, Co-operative News