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Castle Vale goes digital with new computer club

Two subsidiaries of The Pioneer Group were successful in bidding for the Future Digital Inclusion Fund, and as a result have started a new computer club.

Compass Support and Castle Vale Community Housing worked together in securing the bid and have launched a new computer club for tenants or residents on the estate looking to learn about computers from scratch or top up existing basic skills.

The club is running six – eight week courses mainly for beginners who haven’t used a computer, laptop or smart phone before.

Fifteen learners are already signed up for the first course which started in April. The courses are attracting a variety of learners, from older people wanting to stay in touch with family and friends, to those wanting to explore online banking and social media, and others looking to improve their job prospects with better computer skills.

The flexible course is run at a learner’s pace. While the majority of attendees complete eight weeks of computer training, learners are also welcome to update specific skills, for example if you want to learn how to email – this can be completed in one or two weeks, therefore freeing up space for more participants.

Becki Winkless, Inclusion & Insight Officer at Castle Vale Community Housing, says:

The future is turning digital and we want to help as many people as possible get on board. We are thrilled by the interest and impact the computer club is already having. It’s very popular and we are aiming to get 100 Castle Vale residents through our training over the next six months. If successful, this will become an ongoing initiative where we upskill even more of the Castle Vale estate. The current group has bonded, and members support each other. We hope that after their time with us, they will be more connected and feel confident about using computers and smart phones.

Employment Support Advisor, Rob Harris, runs the course and holds the IAG Level 6 Computer Skills qualification, which is given to those working with clients in organisations providing advice and guidance services, on a professional or voluntary basis.

He is ably assisted by James Donnelly, a resident that has already completed the course and is now the computer club’s digital champion. James comments:

I really enjoy being a digital champion and helping out at the computer club, it gives me an opportunity to socialise, help people and share my skills and knowledge with my community.  I feel I have a sense of belonging and enjoy giving back to a community that has supported me so much…it’s also great for my CV!

The computer club runs on Friday mornings from 9.30am – 12pm at the Sanctuary, Castle Vale.

Call Compass Support on 0121 748 8111 to register your interest in joining the club.