HEAR work on Digital Poverty

HEAR and Digital poverty.

Digital poverty can take many forms, including Londoners not being able to afford home broadband, mobile calls and data, or devices that are needed for digital access. The impacts are wide ranging, from being able to access vital services such as online health services, applying for jobs or welfare benefits, to contributing to isolation and loneliness.

There are also less obvious impacts of a move to more and more digital interaction; for example when opportunities to use cash are withdrawn this can very negatively affect those who rely on using cash to manage their budget, or who don't have access to a bank account, not forgetting the Big Issue seller who finds it hard to sell because nobody has cash on them.

Here are some of the things HEAR has been doing to help combat digital poverty:

Age UK London

www.ageuklondon.org.uk

have been leading the way on campaigning for wider access to social tariffs for home broadband, and HEAR has been pleased to support their campaign and add the voices of its members to this work-we are thrilled that Community Fibre have broadened access to considerably cheaper tariffs for Londoners, and we hope that other providers will follow.

HEAR and its members have been using every opportunity to talk about digital poverty and the wider impact of digital exclusion related to the cost of living crisis.

We've been talking about this at:

-The London Digital Exclusion Task Force

-The London Assembly Planning Committee (thank you to Just Space for this opportunity)

-The Mayor's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group

-The London Office of Technology and Innovation Conference

You can watch a video from the Conference here:

https://youtu.be/GcO8XDMMFgs

And here are some useful resources from the Conference:



And here are the links to the Digital Inclusion Initiatives 'digital exhibition' from the conference (you will find HEAR's contribution in the 'support' section:



We were also pleased to facilitate an Open Space discussion on this topic at the recent Health Inequalities and the Cost of Living Crisis workshop, organised by the GLA and Shared Intelligence, at the Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre.

We were delighted to be involved in the design and planning of the workshop and to facilitate members both to attend and contribute to the agenda. We made important new contacts and there are action points for us to take forward for the future. Please watch out for more...

We've also been helping to promote the Unconnected programme, which can provide free SIMS with calls and data for charities and community groups, either for themselves or to distribute to members and beneficiaries; details can be found at:

www.theunconnected.org

and you can contact Ben Mansell their founder direct for more information on:

bmansell@theunconnected.org

07789 796650

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HEAR Equality and Human Rights Network

HEAR Equality and Human Rights Network is a network of voluntary and community sector organisations across London working for equality, rights and social justice and against discrimination. We are currently funded by City Bridge Trust, Trust for London and the National Lottery.

Under our Bridging Divides funding we work to ensure that specialist equality and human rights groups, particularly the smaller and user led ones, and the Londoners they work with, can connect and work together across London and across equality specialisms. With our members we work to make equality issues central in local and regional decision making, and to raise awareness and work more closely with universities, think tanks, professional bodies and business. This funding also supports our core activities as a network: regular bulletins and information provision, knowledge sharing, signposting, website and networking.

The Trust for London project funds our Policy and Campaigns work, which supports organisations to campaign together on equality and rights issues of joint importance. Currently campaigns are focused around support for Deaf and disabled refugees and asylum seekers and Digital Exclusion and we are currently developing a theme with members on Decent Homes as a Human Right. We lead for Disabled customers on the National Asylum Stakeholder Forum Equality Sub-Group, who work alongside the Home Office to ensure the rights of asylum seekers are protected, and established and used to host Charities Challenging Hate Crime, the London pan equality hate crime network.

In the NetEquality project, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund Reaching Communities, through the Cornerstone Fund, dozens of smaller user-led and ‘grass roots’ equality groups and equality partners in London are working together. Over an initial two years, to mid 2021, we will design, test and pilot exciting new ways to use networking and online tools to strengthen our connections and quickly and easily share information and knowledge. We will be exploring ways to join up our voices for solidarity and influence and for more coordinated, effective campaigning to fight discrimination and improve equality in London. Through Stronger Together, funded by Awards for All, we provide activities and support for individual campaigners and those in the smaller, user-led and grass roots groups.
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