Who we are:
Better Communities Bradford has a simple aim - to improve the lives of Bradford's residents. We work with communities in the Lidget Green and Scholemoor areas of inner-city Bradford (a 94% BAME community), with the goal of fighting all forms of social and economic deprivation within these areas.
What we want to tackle:
Digital exclusion is a real problem amongst the vulnerable and economically disadvantaged, particularly in the BAME community. A lack of access to and familiarity with IT resources has led to problems of isolation, loneliness and a negative impact on mental health.
Many in the BAME community already face the challenges of first- and second-generation immigration: economic hardship, difficulties in language and communication, as well as being isolated from larger family groups in Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. Keeping connected with friends and family electronically provides a vital lifeline, particularly during these challenging times. The current Covid19 pandemic has exacerbated the loneliness and isolation many in the community have felt, especially those without access to phones, PCs or laptops, who have struggled to keep in contact with loved ones.
How we're going to do it:
We want to provide access to IT equipment, and training in the basics of computing and the internet, to allow our members to stay in touch with friends and family, and access the services they need online (for example, food shopping or making medical appointments). Our goal is to bring families and communities together through technology, to support our members in building their confidence with IT, help our members learn new skills, and to address the loneliness and isolation which many of us have felt during the Covid lockdowns.
We intend to offer free training sessions, covering all the basics of IT and the internet, to help our members get online, and teach them how to:
- Create their own email address
- Send and receive emails
- Create and use social media accounts so that they can stay in contact with friends and family
- Stay safe online
- Create online shopping accounts and register with retailers of their choice
- Provide signposting to online government services
- Provide signposting to online mental health support and services
Although this may sound simple, for those with no familiarity with computers or technology, the tasks above can be surprisingly daunting.
We want to buy a mixture of Chromebooks and tablets to use for regular weekly IT training sessions, to employ a qualified and experienced IT trainer to deliver our courses, and, depending on uptake, potentially create a lending library of IT equipment for those who do not have access to any at home.
A note on inclusion: although the majority of our members are from a BAME background, reflecting the makeup of the community we serve, we will never turn anyone away based on ethnicity, religion, gender identity or sexuality, and our projects have an open-door policy for all.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Any donations, no matter how small, will make a real difference to our project, and the people of Bradford.