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Bee Online campaign creates a buzz for Westward customers

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Bee Online campaign creates a buzz for Westward customers

WESTWARD HOUSING GROUP Logo

Published by Slough for Westward Housing Group in Housing and also in Communities

Terry Leech, Westward's Bee Online coordinator Terry Leech, Westward's Bee Online coordinator

Westward Housing Group is creating a buzz for its customers through a campaign aimed at getting them to enjoy the benefits of going online.

The ‘Bee Online’ campaign has taken on 20 staff and 30 tenants to train thousands of tenants on how to use the internet over the next year.

And as part of the national Get Online Week from October 13-19, Westward’s mobile roadshow will be travelling around our homes in Devon and Cornwall giving advice.

After a survey showed just 51% of the customers of the housing group felt they were confident to regularly use the internet, Westward is now targeting free training at its most socially excluded tenants.

As part of Digital Champions Network for Housing, Westward is tackling the problem through the Bee Online campaign to get more customers taking advantage of the joys of cheaper shopping, energy and banking deals online, the ability to access benefits and forms on the gov.uk site, use the Westward log-in account, enjoy hobbies, and talk to family and friends on Skype and Facebook.

Over two years Westward will recruit a further 50 champions who will each train two people a month on how to use the internet to reach 3,600 people in total.

Universal credit and a move towards online payment of rent have meant that encouraging tenants to go online is more important than ever.

“Universal credit when it comes in will affect many of our customers and they need to register online. We also need them to pay their rent to us online and they can manage their account, read benefit updates and contact us directly,” said Terry Leech – the coordinator of the Bee Online campaign (pictured).

Champions train through a set of online courses and then go out and share their knowledge in a very hands-on way through ‘show and tell’ informal learning. No-one need be a technological whizz and courses are just half an hour to easy to understand and absorb. Westward customers can contact Terry Leech to train to become champions or to have a free half hour course visit at a nearby community centre, café or library.

The government has identified that a third of those in social housing are not online – the exact group which are most at risk of being financially and socially disadvantaged by this.

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