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Salix Homes helps tenants get online

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Published by James Allan for Salix Homes in Housing and also in Care and Support, Communities

A social housing provider has launched a new project to get its tenants online.

Salix Homes, which manages 8,500 properties across Central Salford, is piloting a digital inclusion initiative to help prepare its tenants for Universal Credit.

Universal Credit, part of the Government’s Welfare Reforms, will combine six key benefits paid in one monthly direct payment and will require residents to apply for and monitor it online.

Statistics show that 4.1 million of the 8.7 million adults who have never been online live in social housing and in a poll of Salix Homes’ tenants it was found that 37 per cent do not have internet access.

Now Salix Homes has joined forces with the Broughton Trust, Salford Credit Union and computer recycling company Pier 1 to provide its tenants with low-cost computers and basic IT training.

As part of the scheme, a group of 20 tenants, who have been identified as claiming benefits or are of pension age, are invited to attend a free, six week basic IT course at the Humphrey Booth centre in Broughton.

They will learn essential IT skills as well as tips and training on job searches, CV writing and interview techniques.

Sue Sutton, director of customer and neighbourhood services at Salix Homes, said: “Universal Credit will present a major cultural change in the way social housing tenants receive and access support so it is essential that we make it as simple as possible for our tenants to get online and more importantly, stay online.

“Too many people in Salford are digitally excluded and 37 per cent of our tenants don’t have internet access so this project reaffirms Salix Homes’ commitment to achieving digital inclusion for people of all ages living in our communities.

“It’s critical for social housing providers to help their tenants to get online – both to prepare them for Universal Credit or to help them get jobs and manage their finances.

“As well as help our tenants prepare for Universal Credit, this project will also enable them to learn essential new skills that are desired by employers and teach them how to access valuable online information to improve their lives.”

For every tenant that completes the course and wishes to purchase their own computer, Salix Homes will pay half of the cost of a recycled laptop costing £150. Tenants will be able to borrow the outstanding amount from Salford Credit Union at a low interest rate, if they open a savings account with the Credit Union.

The pilot project launches this month (January) for tenants in the Lower Broughton and Greengate areas of Salford and if successful Salix Homes intends to roll it out to its tenants across the city. 

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