What is Digibus?
Digibus Gloucestershire is a new and innovative project to support and connect digitally excluded communities in Gloucestershire who have been made more vulnerable since the Covid-19 pandemic began.
Digibus is a mobile digital lab in an accessible, converted double-decker bus with computers, laptops, tablets, 3-D printer, robotics, coding & virtual reality system. The lab will be powered by solar and battery when the bus isn't on the move. Once on board visitors will benefit from the Digibus unique experience; access digital courses, services & information, receive 1-to-1 tuition and practice with the latest technologies.
Why is there a need?
As the world has become increasingly 'online' people lacking the skills or ability to access services and information are falling behind in society. According to the Office for National Statistics, 22% of the UK’s population lacked basic digital skills in 2018.
The so called digital divide is very real and separates the rich and the poor; affecting all ages, from school children to the unemployed to the elderly.
Who will Digibus help?
The bus will travel throughout the county, visiting community centres and hubs, focusing on the areas that have the highest unemployment, where the elderly are disengaged and individuals have the lowest engagement with the internet. An onboard trainer will provide personalised sessions for visitors so they can learn as much or as little as they like; whether it's how to order their medication or groceries online, chat to friends and family, stay safe using the internet, or finding out about important services or social networks that can provide further support. Learning is completely flexible and tailored to the individual based on three core themes:
- 'How to' - learn the basics of computing
- Learn about computer programmes and applications
- 'Inspire me' - learn about coding, robotics and virtual reality
We plan to work with community partner organisations to limit duplication and enable greater access to vulnerable families and individuals living on the margins of society. This will strengthen our capacity to meet the specific needs of communities and progress their skills beyond the life of the project. Learners can continue training with one or more of the Digibus partners after the bus departs.
Digibus will make a difference to the lives of those most vulnerable in Gloucestershire; enabling users to better access relevant information and services, improve their digital skills, connect with friends and family, reduce social isolation and improve livelihoods. We expect to see a change in the number of people gaining digital skills for the purpose of managing their lives more effectively.
How much will it cost?
We need to raise £50,000 for the refit of a double decker bus, to install the lab and the renewable energy technology that will power it. We have secured some funding but still need to raise more.
We are hoping with your help to raise £10,000.
Who are IT Schools Africa?
IT Schools Africa is a UK charity that has been delivering technology, digital access and skills to those who need it most in Africa and the UK for over 16 years. The charity provides access to eLearning technology for students and local communities in Africa and the UK and supports vulnerable and disadvantaged individuals through its UK Community Programme by providing pathways into education, training and employment. It has supplied over 50,000 computers to schools and community initiatives in Africa and the UK and estimated to have given access to IT to 5,000,000 schoolchildren in Africa.
IT Schools Africa’s mission is to transform lives through access to and improved use of digital technology by enabling and improving access to eLearning technology for disadvantaged communities.
Based on the success of Digibus Gloucestershire we plan to develop a Digibus for Africa, to improve access to education for schools and their communities.
Please support us if you can, your help can make the Digibus Project a reality!
IT Schools Africa Team