David (a BT Volunteer) helps DAvid (a Project Participant) Get Started on HIs Tablet.

David (a BT Volunteer) helps DAvid (a Project Participant) Get Started on HIs Tablet.

The ‘Get Connected’ project is a collaboration between Supporting Communities, BT Northern Ireland, and Choice Housing Association targeting people living in homeless hostels in East Belfast.

BT Northern Ireland first approached Supporting Communities about developing a community-based project as part of their corporate social responsibility work and we suggested a digital inclusion project that could also involve BT staff as volunteers. We brought in Choice Housing as a third partner and soon the Get Connected Project was born.

The group of 20 participants and 10 BT volunteers took part in a 12-week training course facilitated by Supporting Communities over the summer of 2017 where they gained digital skills such as online communication, website navigation, filling in forms, etc. to build their competnance and confidence in using the internet to conduct job searches, look for housing, write resumes, get parenting and health information, access benefits, and improve their overall sense of membership in the digital community.

Volunteers meet participants (1).jpg
I’ve learned an awful lot, especially Facebook and email. I have also been able to access online banking on my tablet which has made things a lot easier.

This project has really opened my eyes and I’m still learning. Everybody has been brilliant - both Supporting Communities staff and the BT volunteers.
Now that I am online, it is easier and quicker to send my CV to employers. I have learnt a lot.

The group, which was incredibly diverse by any measure, really came together and built a sense of community over the 12 weeks and their feedback was very positive. We will be keeping in touch with the group over the coming year to see how these new skills and new tablets help them as they strive to meet their own life goals so watch this space!

Certificate Ceremony After the first 12 week Training Course

Certificate Ceremony After the first 12 week Training Course