The idea for Community First came to mind in 2015 when we began to be approached by individuals and local organisations who were being supported by the good Samaritans and Volunteers who ran them.
Because of their self identified lack of digital skills, they felt they were not being able to fully benefit the organisations they were supporting. Something as simple as emailing, sharing information or reaching their most isolated members was an area that was causing great concern. This was a need we could see and luckily one we could most definitely meet.
We then began being asked for similar help but on a commercial level by small and start up-businesses.
Because we wouldn’t take any kind of payment, we started to receive boxes of sweets, biscuits and bottles of wine. Whilst this was very generous, it wasn’t too good for our waistlines or general health!! So when we were offered a donation towards future support we might give to others, a sort of Pay it Forward idea, CommunityfirstUK was formed.
We went on to register as a Social Enterprise limited by guarantee in 2016 where any profit our organisation makes goes back into other projects allowing us to support more people and organisations, not just with digital but with needs they have that we can help with.
SEE A NEED, MEET THAT NEED
Digital support isn’t all we do but it is a big part of what we do and here’s why.
Digital connects supports and enables.
Community First connects, supports and enables.
Digital inclusion should be for all.
Our Digital support is designed to tackle social challenges with digital solutions.
There is a compelling need to support those most vulnerable in society, those most impacted by austerity, those within our local communities whose barriers to developing their knowledge and skills seem insurmountable. Half way through this decade, communities are still facing a future of further cuts therefore now is the time to see the needs, meet those needs and support our communities.
It is expected that almost one in four British children and 1.5 million working-age adults will be living in poverty by the end of this decade. 1.85 million are currently unemployed in the UK and youth unemployment as well as the long term unemployed have remained at high levels since the financial crisis began.The true cost of austerity and inequality Oxfam Sept 2013
The office for national statistics reports that 11% of adults in the UK have never used the internet. 12.9 % are female and 9.7% are male. Although, 99% of 16-24 year olds are internet users only 33% of the over 75s are online. In 2014 mobile overtook fixed internet access indicating a shift in how the public access the internet and which devices they utilise to do so. Mobile Marketing Statistics 2015
The European e-Skills Forum states that ICT users apply systems as tools in support of their own work. User skills cover the use of common software tools and of specialised tools supporting business functions within industry. At the general level, they cover “digital literacies”.
90% of positions in today’s society require basic digital skills. Acquiring those skills ensure that individuals are employable and developing their knowledge and ICT skills increase their likelihood of remaining employed.
Also, internet consumers feel more confident and knowledgeable than their non-internet consumer counterparts. Those online enjoy increased choice and more competitive rates and prices.
Around a fifth of UK adults lack basic digital skills and 16% are not online. Older people, those with disabilities and people without qualifications are more likely to be digitally excluded. Barriers to developing their digital skills include lack of confidence and knowledge, lack of time, financial constraints, poor broadband access, a preference for doing things in person and fears about security. Good Things Foundation