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CommunityGreater Manchester launches new digital support resource for residents with disabilities

Greater Manchester launches new digital support resource for residents with disabilities

Disabled people in Greater Manchester are now able to access support in the digital world, thanks to the launch of a new resource.

“Get Online Greater Manchester: for disabled people” is a comprehensive guide that signposts people with disabilities, and those supporting them, to organisations that can help overcome digital barriers and help people benefit from opportunities in the digital world.

The booklet, which is available in various accessible formats, brings together information on assistive technology; digital skills and skills courses; broadband and mobile connectivity; and advice about staying safe online.

The guide has been developed with input from partners and organisations of Greater Manchester’s Disabled People Panel. They had been told that disabled people and care professionals are unaware of where to access digital support, such as assistive technology, digital skills and getting online, and that more guidance was needed to help disabled people understand and utilise the range of technology available.

Chris Hamnett, co-chair GM Disabled People’s Panel, said: “Digital exclusion is growing in the UK. This guide to support in Greater Manchester is a good start for all disabled people and our organisations. Whether it is data, devices, or learning support, you will find the help you need to remove barriers to inclusion and make use of online services safely.”

Driving ambitions

Greater Manchester’s Digital Inclusion Agenda for Change drives the ambitions, set out by mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, to become one of the first city-regions in the world to equip all under-25s, over-75s and disabled people with the skills, connectivity, and technology to confidently get online.

Having the ability, tools and support to get online is essential to ensure equal access to the opportunities that digital can bring. Digital inclusion means enabling people to actively participate in society, access information and public services and having the ability to fully participate in life.

Greater Manchester’s Digital Inclusion Agenda for Change drives the ambitions, set out by Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, to become one of the first city-regions in the world to equip all under-25s, over-75s and disabled people with the skills, connectivity, and technology to confidently get online.

The recently launched Good Things Foundations’ Minimum Digital Living Standards (MDLS) Report outlines a set of minimum standards of digital tools, skills and access that UK households with families need and identified that 66% of those with a health issue or disability are more likely not to meet MDLS.

Struggle

Research from Good Things Foundation also shows that disabled people often have lower levels of digital skills, with 32 percent of people with an impairment lack basic digital skills.

The Nominet Youth Index 2022 reported that many disabled young people struggle to use devices due to accessibility challenges. Furthermore, digital tools and services are of considerable importance for many disabled people allowing them to undertake many everyday tasks and activities, and expensive equipment may mean that some residents living with disabilities do not have the opportunity to explore options that could support them with getting online, particularly as a higher proportion of disabled people are living in poverty.

Councillor Nick Peel, GMCA lead for Digital, said: “This is another great step in Greater Manchester’s vision to become a world leading digital city-region. With our ambitions for Greater Manchester to become one of the first city-regions in the world to equip all under-25s, over-75s and disabled people with the skills, connectivity and technology to get online and this new resource helps ensure we’re on our way to achieving that ambition and leaving no one behind.”

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