Daniel Zeichner MP visits Cambridge Central Library to support digital inclusion

PHOTO: Left to right, Tom Molloy – Head of Service, Cambridgeshire Skills, Sally Page – Deputy CEO Cambridge Council for Voluntary Service, Daniel Zeichner MP for Cambridge, Christopher Waters – District Library Manager, Cambridgeshire Libraries, Will Plant – Digital Inclusion Lead, Connecting Cambridgeshire.

In response to a call to action on End Digital Poverty Day, Daniel Zeichner MP visited Cambridge Central Library on Friday 16 February to gain first-hand insights into the challenges of digital exclusion in Cambridge.

The visit was organised by the Connecting Cambridgeshire digital connectivity programme following an invitation from Stephen Moir, Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire County Council.  At the end of last year, Mr Moir wrote to all Cambridgeshire Members of Parliament encouraging them to visit local digital inclusion hubs and explore ways to enhance support for residents and communities.

Daniel Zeichner’s visit to Cambridge Central Library provided an opportunity to delve into the specifics of how digital exclusion affects communities. During the visit, Mr Zeichner was welcomed by representatives from the County Council, including the Connecting Cambridgeshire team and the Libraries service, as well as the Cambridge Council for Voluntary Service. They were joined by a local volunteer Digital Buddy, who gave a first-hand account of their experience going through various digital skills courses and becoming a volunteer in the library.

Daniel Zeichner MP said: “‘Our world relies on access to the internet and the digital divide hurts those who need it most. 

“I strongly commend the work of the County Council’s Digital Inclusion Hubs in helping to bridge the digital divide and ensure that everyone can have access to the Internet and digital services.

The discussions focused on the digital exclusion landscape, existing support mechanisms, and the ongoing needs to develop a robust, sustainable digital inclusion landscape.

Cllr Alex Bulat, Vice-Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Communities, Social Mobility and Inclusion Committee, confirms the importance of these hubs to bridge the digital divide: “Digital inclusion hubs play a pivotal role in addressing the challenges of digital exclusion in our communities.

“This visit, organised by Connecting Cambridgeshire, highlights the need for ongoing discussions about the remaining gaps in provision and the wider needs of digitally excluded residents. We must collaboratively explore what more can be done to support our communities.”

Following the visit, stakeholders will collaborate on follow-up actions to further strengthen digital inclusion efforts in Cambridge city. This includes continued discussions around addressing digital exclusion challenges and identifying opportunities for enhanced support.

All Cambridgeshire County Council’s Libraries are registered as digital inclusion hubs with the Good Things Foundation and offer a range of services to support digital inclusion. Your local library can provide access to the National Data Bank, offers digital advice, connectivity, devices, and support to anyone who requires assistance with gaining digital skills and confidence. Find your local Library.

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