ReachIT – Digital Inclusion

What is ReachIT?

ReachIT is a digital inclusion project that has a core aim to ensure that no-one in Lancashire is lacking in basic computer skills.

The learning tool being used to engage people is called Learn My Way.

This is a FREE online course which helps you become familiar with:

  • Basic IT skills
  • Knowing how to use online tools
  • How to keep safe online.

This project is funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery, through the Big Lottery Fund.

ReachIT will provide targeted, personalised digital skills training to the people of Lancashire.

How Can ReachIT Help You?

We aim to improve:

  • Employability (finding a job)
  • Improving your health & wellbeing
  • Managing money
  • Accessing online public services (including making and maintaining a Universal Credit claim)
  • Digital skills that will empower communities throughout Lancashire

We’ll ensure that the most socially excluded and isolated throughout the county can access ReachIT by channeling our engagement and support resources through local communities and services.

How Does ReachIT Operate?

There will be classes accessible throughout the region, taught by volunteer tutors who are aware of the issues residents may have and in languages common to the students.

The project offers one-to-one and small group support to encourage everyone who is eligible to learn new digital skills and get connected.

The project is available to those who are eligible (see below to criteria) in a number of locations across West Lancashire, Chorley, South Ribble, Blackburn with Darwen and the Wyre area.

Digital Help Centres offering this include:

  • West Lancashire (Skelmersdale)
  • Buckshaw Community Centre (Chorley)
  • Buttermere Community Centre (Chorley)
  • Tatton Community Centre (Chorley)
  • Clayton Brook Community Centre (Chorley)
  • Fleetwood
  • Blackburn with Darwen

ReachIT will contribute to Lancashire’s Employment & Skills priorities by providing targeted support whilst identifying local business needs, improving employability and increasing self confidence in digital skills.

Who Can Enroll in ReachIT?

Participants must be 19 years old or over and either unemployed or economically inactive and be in one or more of the target groups:

  • Older people aged 50 or over and seeking work
  • Residents of rural areas at risk of geographic or labour market exclusion
  • People with physical, learning or mental health conditions
  • People from black and minority ethnic communities
  • Vulnerable people who are facing additional barriers (ex-offenders, people in recovery from substance misuse, homeless people, and those in Troubled Families [households who are involved in crime and antisocial behaviour, have children not in school, have an adult on out-of-work benefits, causing high cost to the public purse])
  • Women – especially those from black and minority ethnic communities, lone parents, those living in troubled families or victims of domestic abuse
  • Migrants and refugees
  • LGBT individuals
  • Young Carers

Specifically:

  • Unemployed
  • Economically inactive
  • 50 and over
  • Have disabilities
  • From ethnic minorities

What You Will Learn From ReachIT?

Participants will graduate from the course with a deeper understanding of computers and ways they can utilize them to increase their chances of being employed, plan their finances more effectively, reduce social isolation and also understand how to access health services.

The community will also benefit from the project as there will be greatly improved community cohesion, through the re-engagement of socially excluded people, as well as increased support for local businesses and a boost to the economy by making attendees more employable.

Who is Involved in ReachIT?

Besides Citizens Advice Lancashire, the project combines the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA), who holds an impressive track record of providing voluntary sector infrastructure, and the Lancashire Wide Association of Councils for Voluntary Service (LACVS), with a network of local third sector infrastructure supporting bodies.

Equality bodies Age UK, MIND, Disability Equality NW, Lancs Women’s Centres, BME Network, LGBT Network and Advice Lancashire form the remaining Board members.

In addition, there are over 30 other VCSE bodies acting as local delivery partners across the county. All are high performing providers with grassroots reach & proven Digital Inclusion & volunteering support track records.

Please Send Your Inquiries to:

Phil Furner (Fleetwood area) reachit2@lw.cabnet.org.uk

Sarah Bennett (all other areas CA Lancashire West cover) reachit1@lw.cabnet.org.uk