Derbyshire’s new Referral Map tackles digital inclusion

Derbyshire County Council (DCC) has launched a new Digital Inclusion Referral Map that provides an interactive list of places where people can get digital skills support in the region. 

The Referral Map was created by Digital Support Derbyshire - part of Rural Action Derbyshire - in partnership with Citizens Online, and aims to help community organisations and residents to discover where digital inclusion support is currently available across Derbyshire. 

Jo Peck, Project Coordinator, said: "I am very excited to announce that the Derbyshire Digital Inclusion Referral Map is now uploaded on the Rural Action Derbyshire website, together with downloadable spreadsheets detailing the digital inclusion support currently available across the county.

"We hope that the map and associated information will be a useful tool for the general public and referral agencies looking for digital inclusion support. Hopefully it will also enable digital projects within the network to connect more easily."

As many as 62,000 people in Derbyshire have still never used the internet, according to figures by Citizens Online. However, those that lack access to the right technology or reliable, affordable broadband connections are left with a considerable disadvantage in today's digital world - especially when it comes to using vital services and discovering employment opportunities. 

The Referral Map represents the latest step in Digital Support Derbyshirderby mape’s ambitions to navigate barriers to digital exclusion by improving access to the internet, affordable devices and digital skills support across the county. 

The establishment of the Digital Support Derbyshire Network has also provided important information about areas of need and gaps in support. The network has already connected 44 digital inclusion hubs across Derbyshire, and has over 190 individuals on its network list - people committed to contributing to bridging the digital divide in Derbyshire.

The project is currently scoping a pilot which would offer assistance to unpaid carers, including providing access to devices and one-to-one Digital Champion support.

The team at Digital Support Derbyshire is also investigating the possibility of collaborating to assist those with specific accessibility needs, including isolated rural residents, those escaping domestic abuse, and those needing support to access work and training opportunities. 

This would mean increasing the number of paid and volunteer Digital Champions and across Derbyshire.

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