Our Digital Work
We have successfully delivered many digital inclusion projects which have helped people to develop their digital skills and access their rights and entitlements.
Our Supporting Active Engagement project was funded by the Big Lottery Fund from 2013 - 2019, and it helped to support older people at risk of information poverty and isolation.
Over that period, we helped hundreds of older people enhance their digital skills through a 10-week training course. Our committed team of volunteers delivered the project, and we ventured across Northern Ireland to different Radius Housing Association schemes, community groups, and other organisations.
During the 10-week course, the participants developed a range of digital skills from using a tablet, sending an email, making consumer complaints online, posting on social media, and we empowered them to learn about their rights through our Rights 4 Seniors website.
We also offered a free benefits check service as part of the project. At the end of the initial funding for Supporting Active Engagement, a total of £777,905 had been generated in benefit entitlement for participants.
How Supporting Active Engagement helped
- 96% of participants said they had increased confidence and skills in using digital technology
- 89% said they more aware of resources and information relating to their rights and entitlements
- 88% said they felt less isolated after participating in the training
- 88% said they had improved health and wellbeing
"The student / volunteer ratio is good and there are plenty of volunteers. The volunteers are very approachable … they chat, they have a laugh, but they still get the job done.
It’s been very comprehensive and enjoyable … a good bit of banter."
- Supporting Active Engagement participant
If you want to find out more, you can read the full Supporting Active Engagement Evaluation Report.
Our Building Resilience in Retirement (BRIR) project was developed between July 2017 - March 2018 to help older people access financial information and support online.
It consisted of a 6-week training course for 'hard to reach groups' such as older men, BME groups of older people, and older people not living in sheltered accommodation but in receipt of support services.
During the 6-week programme, participants learned about avoiding online scams, how to carry out good online research, using online budgeting tools and comparison websites.
How Building Resilience in Retirement helped:
- 89% of participants had increased knowledge about of where to get information online
- 82% more aware of budgeting and managing their money
- 67% had made changes to how they budgeted and managed their money
"Before the course I would have been wary of going on some sites for fear of being scammed – it’s made me a lot more confident and more likely to go to financial websites."
- Building Resilience in Retirement participant
If you want to find out more, you can read the full Building Resilience in Retirement Evaluation Report.
In 2019, we delivered a digital inclusion project that focused on Welfare Reform and financial capability.
We worked in partnership with Groundwork NI to provide training for men aged over 55 who were involved in Men Shed's.
The training was delivered over 6 weeks and the group learned how to access money related information online, awareness of their rights and entitlements, advice on welfare changes, using comparison websites and accessing online services.
"Everything was really useful, it’s really increased my thinking about how to use my money."
- Participant from the Men Shed
In 2018, funded by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, our Head of ICT, Patricia Donald, travelled to Australia and Japan to explore how digital inclusion learning programmes in both countries were enabling older people to reap the benefits of the Internet.
The research builds Advice NI’s digital inclusion initiatives by bringing back ideas and knowledge that could inform proposals in key policy areas - ensuring that older people can take advantage of digital systems and processes as services move online.
You can read about Patricia's experience in Australia and Japan on digital4seniors.net.
In 2020 we ran a 6-week digital training programme with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive for participants from local community groups in Ballymena, Carrickfergus, and Larne.
Even in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, we successfully delivered this digital course via Zoom. We ran two digital skills sessions per week. During the sessions, learners gained skills and confidence in using search engines to find information, staying safe online, using social media, and getting started with online shopping.
We also delivered a 6-week Digital Champion course that allowed participants to gain the skills and knowledge to help people in their own communities. This included training and resources on how to engage and inspire learners, creating lesson plans, supporting learners remotely, and information on staying safe online.
"Advice NI is the best organisation we have ever worked with, you are really productive, the groups thought the digi training was fantastic and we want to work with Advice NI again"
- Northern Ireland Housing Executive
Our 6-week award-winning Digi Money programme, funded by the Bank of Ireland, trains people who can speak another language in addition to English to be Digital Champions.
The course covers topics such as:
- What is a Digital Champion?
- Engaging and Inspiring Learners
- Staying Safe Online
- Supporting Learners Remotely
Our training participants come from various migrant, refugee, and asylum seeker communities. They receive a tablet to keep and a SIM card with 6 months of data. The course also gives them the opportunity to gain an Open College Network NI Level 2 qualification.
Those who participate in the course commit to delivering at least 5 hours of Digi Skills sessions to individuals and groups in their local community.
Since our Digi Money programme started in 2021, we have trained 30 Digital Champions who have delivered 12 sessions to 76 learners in their own communities.
We were delighted that our Digi Money programme won the Social Inclusion (Small/Medium) category at the AONTAS STAR Awards in March 2023.