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Digital Engagement at Roystonhill Community Hub

After continuing to support the community remotely, Roystonhill Community Hub will be opening its doors for Digital learning on the 5th of April 2021 

Roystonhill Community Hub, is a community centre in the heart of Royston which is run by Spire View Housing Association. Since 2019 they have been working in partnership with Power-Up in order to improve Digital Engagement across the local community. 

Power-up is an initiative by the Good Things Foundation with the financial support of J.P Morgan which aims to drive economic inclusion through digital skills in communities. It helps organisations use digital skills training to increase employability, financial inclusion and small businesses. 

The project was set up for a number of reasons, one being that 90% of those who do not use the internet are more likely to face challenges including unemployment, low income and low skills. 

30% of UK small businesses and charities lack the digital skill required to participate in the digital world. 

Digital Engagement Officer Fiona Mclean said: “The digital engagement project is fantastic and I am very glad to be involved in something so important. Even excluding the Coronavirus pandemic, being online is now more important than ever. 

Here at Roystonhill Community Hub we recognise that and we are and will continue to provide as much support for our community as we can.” 

Through research carried out by the Scottish Digital Inclusion Strategy it was highlighted that there is a need for effective digital skills provision in order to reduce barriers facing unemployed people in an increasingly digital world. Consultation undertaken evidenced an understanding that in order for unemployed people to have sufficient access to digital technology there is a need to develop a wider network in order to maximise access to free resources which would increase participation in digital technology programmes. 

In meeting regional needs, the project compliments Glasgow City Council’s Strategic Plan (2017-22) which aspires to become the number one digital city in Scotland by increasing the number of people with digital skills, growing the business base and greater marketing of digital success. 

Roystonhill Community Hub is host to a number of different digital participants, all with different skill levels but all are experiencing positive outcomes throughout the project. 

Janet Anderson is a 56 year old woman who has lived in Royston her whole life, she has struggled with digital devices for a long time and signed up to take part in Roystonhill Community Hub’s Digital Skills Level 3 course, now she is finally getting used to using her devices and is feeling more confident in her abilities. When starting the class she said: “I don’t know how many phones and tablets I have thrown at the wall because I can’t work them. The first time I tried to buy a coat online I ended up with 3 of the same so I just gave the other two away because I didn’t know how to send them back.” 

Now Janet is slowly but surely building up her skill level and feeling more comfortable online, she has commented that her stress levels are lowering and she isn’t as frightened of being online as she used to be. 

Pauline Frati a 49-year-old local Royston resident experienced unemployment in 2018, she had worked in the catering/ hospitality industry for over 20 years and had dreams of running her own business. 

When Roystonhill Community Hub opened with a full commercial kitchen, Pauline came back with a full and comprehensive business plan to finally be able to open her own business. However when preparing Pauline knew her lack of digital skills could get in the way of running a successful business. 

Pauline began attending digital class in December of 2019 and started learning how to use different programmes like email, Google suite, Google drive and Google docs. As Pauline’s skills continued to grow so did her business, her Café opened in February 2020 and despite the Coronavirus pandemic Pauline has worked hard to grow her business and continues to grow her social media and online presence. 

When talking about the digital classes Pauline said: “There is no way I could have done all of the digital things that I needed to do to establish my business without this project. I made my own flyers and menus and I am now very active on social media. I deal with emails confidently and can prepare and send invoices too.” 

Our very own Digital Engagement Officer Fiona Mclean originally started as a digital volunteer – when starting she had very basic digital skills but through working with Power Up now has a decent knowledge of internet safety and has vastly improved her online confidence. She was successfully interviewed for the vacant Digital Engagement Officer position last year and gained employment in November of 2020. Developing her skills has helped a lot in her new job, she said:

 “I would love to take my role further with Roystonhill Community Hub but if it comes to an end then it has been a fantastic experience for me and maybe I will go on to bigger and better things. I have learned that if you don’t challenge yourself you will get left behind. I am so glad I joined the classes as this has been a brilliant opportunity for me.”