Digital Inclusion Delivery Plan for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to combat digital exclusion

A year-long work plan aiming to bridge the digital divide and ensure that all residents have the access, skills, and confidence to benefit from digital connectivity has been unveiled for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Connecting Cambridgeshire presented the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Digital Inclusion Delivery Plan 2024/2025 at a stakeholder event last Thursday (30 May).

With representatives from Cambridgeshire Libraries, Cambridgeshire Skills, Healthwatch Cambs and Peterborough, and Care Together, the event outlined the urgent need for effective collaborative working and digital inclusion strategies.

Recent studies by the UK Parliament Communications and Digital Committee, and Ofcom, have highlighted significant barriers to digital inclusion – including affordability, access, and ability. The launch of the Digital Inclusion Delivery Plan, for the period May 2024 to March 2025, brought together key stakeholders from various sectors to showcase a strong commitment to bridging the digital divide in the region.

The Delivery Plan has been designed to provide sustainable, place-based support to digitally excluded people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

The document is the result of extensive research and engagement by the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme with various partners, including voluntary and community sector organisations and residents. It aligns with the programme’s broader Digital Connectivity Infrastructure Strategy 2021-2025. It integrates feedback and insights from existing and ongoing digital inclusion efforts in the county.

Ceren Clulow, programme director for Connecting Cambridgeshire, opened the event with an overview of the programme’s wider initiatives. Will Plant, Digital Inclusion Lead for the programme, spoke about the key principles and ambitions of the Digital Inclusion Delivery Plan, emphasising the importance of the collaboration opportunities for partners. Collaborating will ensure that new efforts aren’t duplicating existing efforts and that pooling resources is done to maximise benefits to communities.

Attendees heard insightful presentations from key partners, including the Good Things Foundation, Sustainable Tech 4 Good, the Cambridgeshire Council for Voluntary Service and the Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce.

The event featured networking opportunities, allowing attendees to exchange ideas and explore potential collaborations to enhance digital inclusion efforts across the region.

The holistic approach of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Digital Inclusion Delivery Plan focuses on enhancing affordable internet access and device availability; improving digital skills and confidence among residents; and fostering community-based support and collaboration.

Key principles include collaboration – engaging with cross-sector partners to deliver sustainable support; community engagement – working directly with communities to understand and address their specific needs; and innovation – promoting innovative solutions and best practices for digital inclusion.

Connecting Cambridgeshire will continue to engage with stakeholders and communities to implement the strategy’s initiatives from May 2024 – March 2025. A ‘State of Digital Inclusion’ report will be published annually to share progress and lessons learned, ensuring ongoing improvement and adaptation of the delivery plan.

Photo gallery from the Digital Inclusion Delivery Plan launch event in Huntingdon Library

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