More than Just Devices (but this is a good start) – Superhighways case study

Our next Digital Exclusion case study comes from Digital doyennes (and dudes), and partners with HEAR in Net Equality and Datawise, Superhighways:

Over-coming digital exclusion needs more than just devices (but this is a good start)
By Superhighways

Superhighways helps small charities with advice, training and IT support, helping London’s VCS become more effective, raise their profile and demonstrate their impact using digital technology.As an organisation with broad understanding of how vulnerable people and smaller charities, who don’t have access to technology or digital skills know-how can become easily isolated and exposed to risk.They saw the opportunity to apply for the DevicesDotNow offer organised through The Good Things Foundation’s Online Centre Network, jumped at it!

Download or share the case study details using the hashtags #MoreThanJustDevices and #ChallengingDigitalExclusion and read the recommendations below

1.Provide at least 3 months free mobile data with every device.
Not everyone has the luxury of connecting their new tablet to their home broadband. Providing a tablet without mobile data, is like giving someone a car without a set of keys. Public WIFI can present a risk to internet newbies from being hacked where you sit, and good practice guidelines should be made available in every facility that offers it…
2.Kookycat videos
The web isn’t just about finding support services, health information and searching for employment. It’s also about making life easier (and often cheaper)… staying in close touch with friends and let’s not forget the Kooky Cat Videos on You Tube. It’s the everyday that powers the net and as a trainer your role is to work out ‘a buy in point’…
3.Buyin from senior management team
Devicesdotnow presented a fantastic infrastructure project for charities and community groups to start connecting vulnerable people with services and support at a time of crisis. It is now time for senior management teams to take on the learning from projects like this… Organisations should build in human connection to their ongoing digital services to make these as effective and meaningful as possible, and not just a 2nd class offer”

Addressing Digital Inequalities Within the Armenian Community- case study b y CAIA

HEAR presents the next in our Digital Exclusion case studies from the Centre for Armenian Information and Advice and how they have addressed digital and social inequalities during the pandemic:

Addressing Digital Inequalities Within the Armenian Community
By the Centre for Armenian Information and Advice (CAIA)

CAIA support the UK’s over 20,000 Armenians, from their centre in West London, and were well placed to adapt to the barriers created by ‘lockdown’ due to being user-led, understanding the needs of isolated and intersectional Armenians and having already been part of the Good Things Foundation’s Online Centres .

Download or share the case study details using the hashtags #DigitalInequalities and #ChallengingDigitalExclusion and read the recommendations below

Recommendation to overcome Digital Exclusion:

  • Teaching & Training courses:
    …when designing/planning any form of IT/digital training, an organisation should be aware of the both the learners state of mind as well as their existing skills sets.
  • Engaging BMER people in digital learning:
    Arrange IT/ digital classes in familiar settings such as community centres where they are already known and trust those who are seeking to teach them digital skills…
  • To Combat loneliness and social exclusion:
    Promoting and explaining the practical benefits of digital skills to the most marginalized…is a major challenge…Therefore, every effort should be made to explain the importance of digital inclusion to them in their own language…
  • Training and teaching Internet privacy and safety:
    Confidentially, data protection and internet privacy are paramount for people who have experienced persecution, discrimination and violence…
  • Financial barriers
    The elderly/low income/newly arrived BAM people often find it complicated or expensive to acquire an internet provider. To attend classes, it may require travel or one to one assistance…Reimburse traveling costs and child care to encourage learners’ attendance”

Digital poverty and increased isolation of LGBTI migrants during COVID-19 – Mirco Rainbow case study

HEAR presents the third Expert by Experience case study highlighting good practice, user-led interventions and recommendations to help communities, policy makers and funders to overcome digital exclusion:

“Digital poverty and increased isolation of LGBTI migrants during COVID-19
by Micro Rainbow

Due to their work with and understanding gained from their beneficiaries, 400 LGBTI migrants yearly, Micro Rainbow realised that tackling digital poverty was paramount during the pandemic. They were able to get LGBTI migrants online, provide continuing vital support to at risk LGBTI migrants and digitise two of their three programmes. Their Digital Social Inclusion work includes designing an experimental digital body movement programme and their Digital Moving On programme consists of a series of “Moving On” webinars on employability, accessing education, myths and realities about working, and legal workshops run by immigration lawyers.

Download or share the case study details using the hashtags #DigitalPoverty and #ChallengingDigitalExclusion and read the recommendations below


Home Office housing providers should equip their accommodations with WIFI for all asylum seekers: this will allow vulnerable migrants who live in poverty to stay connected with key services…

Funders should consider giving flexible grants that enable VCS organisations to top up their beneficiaries’ mobile phones…[and] also consider funding and evaluating experimental projects that explore and develop new digital delivery methods

VCS organisations should consider if their beneficiaries have access not only to mobile data and the relevant hardware (smart phones/tablets) but also to a safe space from which they can join without fearing, for example, of being outed to strangers.”

Remote Researchers – learning from experts by experience in digital inclusion – case study by CIIP

The second in HEAR’s series of Expert by Experience and academic case studies shares good practice developed by ‘house-bound’ remote researchers:

“Remote Researchers –
learning from experts by experience in digital inclusion”

by the Chronic Illness Inclusion Project

The Chronic Illness Inclusion Project research practice was developed by and with a community of disabled people living with energy limiting chronic illness (ELCI). It was adapted to meet the needs and circumstances of participants and Expert by Experience researchers. The practice developed was an extended online focus group. The purpose of this case study is to highlight their broader research, give the community a voice, and share and promote good practice, knowledge and experience CIIP developed in engaging ‘house-bound’ people in ‘Internet Mediated Research’. Their work has never been more applicable than in a post-pandemic, cocooning communities world.

Download or share the case study details using the hashtags #RemoteResearchers and #ChallengingDigitalExclusion

Some of the topics considered in the case study and wider CIIP research includes, cognitive difficulties – trouble concentrating, finding words, reading and writing, fluctuating energy and symtoms, and the ethical considerations of online work privacy, confidentiality, difficulties of safeguarding, establishing trust, risk of mental distress, risk from over-exertion and technical solutions to those challenges. See CIIP’s Ethics Review for more detail.

Tutors for GRT – challenging digital exclusion – Traveller Movement case study

HEAR is delighted to present the first in a series of Expert by Experience and academic case studies highlighting good practice, user-led interventions and recommendations to help communities, policy makers and funders to overcome digital exclusion:

“Tutors for GRT – challenging digital exclusion”,
by the Traveller Movement

The Traveller Movement developed ‘Tutors for GRT’ in reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic and many years experience of casework with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) families demonstrating home schooling would be difficult for many GRT parents because of digital exclusion and low literacy levels. The project develops a tailored tutoring relationship with GRT famililes and tutors with a DBS

Download or share the case study details using the Traveller Movement’s #TutorsForGRT hashtag and read the recommendations below


  • Local Authorities and schools need to consider digitally excluded children when designing their homework assignments during and after Covid-19 school closures.
  • Schools should provide tablets or laptops for those children who don’t have them at home as well as guidance how to use them
  • The Government should make sure all households have access to a good broadband connection
  • Private on and offline tutors should be provided for children who have fallen behind in their education during and after Covid-19 pandemic. The tutors need to be flexible, culturally competent and non-judgmental
  • Government should earmark some of the funding given to schools to tackle the impacts of Covid-19 school closures to make sure BAME groups are treated fairly when distributing these funds”

Opportunities to get involved in Oxford Uni’s Refugee Studies Centre linked research

Dr Evan Easton-Calabria senior research officer at Oxford University’s Refugee Studies Centre is producing a digital exclusion case study, “RCO London landscape during the public health pandemic” by interviewing leaders of London Refugee Community Organisations, and paying £10 for their time where required. Email to find out more.

Dr Easton-Calabria is also the editor of the “Rethinking Refuge Platform”, a stand-alone website (linked to the RSC website) that provides short, topical, research-based articles that address reform needed in the international refugee regime and is looking for articles.

The articles should broadly relate to ‘rethinking’ a major structural issue/topic in refugee and forced migration today on one or more of the following themes:
•Refugee agency
•Refugee economies
•Rethinking Emergencies and Crises
•The Syrian Refugee Crisis
Article Guidelines:-600-1,000 words, in accessible language (no jargon) Claims and arguments should be based on research (your own and secondary) and evidence rather than in an editorial or op-ed format. Full details here

Open letter Public Inquiry Covid Crisis -sign by TOMORROW Thursday 2nd July 4pm

A call out to the Third Sector, campaigning orgs and trade unions – Join Public Interest Law Centre in demanding a Public Inquiry into the handling of the Covid-19 crisis – please endorse and sign by this Thursday 2nd July

PILC ith the The Law Centres Network, are writing a letter to the Home Secretary to demand a public inquiry into the UK Government’s handling of the pandemic. We would like the letter to be a joint call by the Third Sector for an investigation into the litany of failures that have led to thousands of unnecessary deaths. Please join us by reading and signing the attached letter. 
Covid 19 impact and a systematic failure
As you are aware, the number of excess deaths registered in the UK during the Covid-19 outbreak is over 65,000, with the UK being one of the worst-affected countries in the world.

The record number of deaths is not a natural consequence of the virus, but a product of political choices. The absence of a robust response by the UK Government has led to thousands of unnecessary deaths at every juncture of this pandemic.

The failures are well-documented and include delays in imposing lockdown, PPE shortages, failure to test, trace and isolate, delayed action to safeguard care homes and failure to protect victims of abuse. These failures have had a disproportionate impact on BAME communities. 

Why is a public inquiry necessary?
The Third Sector and bereaved families deserve to know what went wrong and why. It will fall on our sector to pick up the pieces of the Government’s many failures. Given our unique position, we have a right to demand answers.

According to the Inquiries Act 2005, a public inquiry can be called when “particular events have caused, or are capable of causing, public concern, or… there is public concern that particular events may have occurred.”

The handling of the Covid-19 crisis is clearly a matter of significant public interest and concern. Given the public’s lack of confidence in the Government, it is appropriate that an independent body should investigate decisions, actions and the failure to act, so that the Government may be held accountable and future disasters prevented.

Next Steps
As the Third Sector we have a responsibility to demand a public inquiry on behalf of our service users. We ask that you, as representatives of those affected by the pandemic, join our demand and sign the letter attached. 

Whilst we would welcome any fundamental amendments to the letter, please make sure they are absolutely necessary given the fact that we are sending this to over 40 organisations!

Please kindly respond to by 4pm Thursday 2nd July 2020 to give us time to edit the letter and send out on Monday 6th July.

Tues 30th June,2-3.30, pan-equality hate crime network

Tues 30th June,2-3.30pm,Charities Challenging Hate Crime, London’s pan-equality hate crime network virtual meeting
June is Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month. Today is Windrush Day and Corona Virus conspiracies and Black Lives Matter have brought racism to the forefront of many members minds.

Charities Challenging Hate Crime, Tuesday 30th June will take place on Zoom between 2.00 and 3.30pm.

Speakers will include the Traveller Movement, Migrant Voice and Southeast and East Asian Centre in London.

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. We are able to reimbruse expenses for members who experience digital exclusion. Please email with any access or communication needs or for more information.

We are paying for Digital Exclusion case studies and good practice! EXTENDED DEADLINE

HEAR has been working with members to increase understanding of the intersectional and complex nature of Digital Exclusion as part of our policy and campaigns work funded by Trust for London

COVID19 has highlighted how race, disability, poverty, domestic abuse, age, lack of privacy, insecure housing, immigration status and safety online etc., interact to create Digital Exclusion.

Digital by default public health messages and access to services during this pandemic have demonstrated how important it is that local and central government better understand their obligations to provide in real life (IRL) alternatives, reasonable adjustments and full access to public services.HEAR members and wider civil society swift responses, overcoming Digital Exclusion in our under-valued organisations and for beneficiaries whilst also mobilising successful online campaigns securing better responses from public services, shows VCS are on the cutting edge when removing barriers to Digital Exclusion and using digital tools for social inclusion in the sector.

HEAR planned a programme of events sharing good practice, current research and user-led interventions to involve everyone equally in the digital revolution. Those events can’t happen so we are delighted to announce we are asking for applications from members to write case studies, evaluations, briefings, create blogs, vlogs, toolkits, hacks, or content demonstrating good practice in getting intersectional and excluded communities online.

We are offering £300 to write up previously completed work and £500 if you are able to safely deliver work currently to overcome digital exclusion or use digital tools to create social inclusion.This application is meant to be stress free! Do not spend a lot of time on it. At the bottom are the details you MUST include, otherwise apply as quickly and easily as you can. Reports will be shared with our members, policy makers and other stakeholders and included on our online platforms.  

Maximum 2 sides A4 proposal
Application deadline:
EXTENDED UNTIL COCOONING ENDS but applications will be assessed and granted as received. Once we’ve spent the reallocated budget its gone!
Delivery deadline:
You must include:

  1. Organisation or project name
  2. Contact details (name, email and telephone number)
  3. Charity number or description of project if not registered charity
  4. Thecommunity, intersection or barrier the project focuses on
  5. Whatyou plan to write or deliver (e.g., 1000 word case study, 2 page briefing, vlogs of participants)
  6. Whether you are applying for £300 or £500
  7. If you are applying for £500 you must also include when and where the work will be delivered and number of beneficiaries

Case studies of interest:

  • Projects getting digitally excluded online, particularly intersectional Londoners
  • User-led projects and Lived Experience involvement in design, training, projects
  • Safety, risk and protection from scams and phishing to data privacy, safeguarding and online hate
  • Challenging statutory digital exclusion and gaining adjustments or alternatives
  • Digital democracy, consultations and engagement
  • Reinforcing inequalities and lack of digital data
  • Mobilising, campaigning and lobbying online
  • Integrational and intercultural interventions
  • Changing narratives about creators, curators and content; girls that code, hidden figures, Deaf SMS pioneers, diverse emoji
  • Testing accessible tools and technology
  • Difference between digital exclusion and choosing not to go online
  • Connecting at the time of COVID19 – Online Ramadan, immediate solidarity in campaigning, zoom vs facetime vs houseparty vs skype

Your project might cover all or some of these topics. It might be something completely new and not listed. We want diverse, innovative and inspiring work!

Please send applications to or email or call with any questions.

With thanks to our funder Trust for London

deafPLUS BSL Advice Line

Using existing popular technologies such as Skype, Zoom and Facetime, we deliver advice on a wide range of topics.

The deafPLUS Advice Line is the first ever award winning helpline in the UK that is accessible to deaf British Sign Language (BSL) users.  Funded by the Big Lottery Community Fund, we use existing popular technologies such as Skype and FaceTime to deliver advice on a range of issues to clients.  This is to ensure that each client can fully participate in any assessment which is being made on their behalf, understand their civil rights and participate in the conversation about what services they need to access, allowing for them to make informed choices. 

The deafPLUS Advice Line enables deaf BSL users to sign “face to face” with a trained advisor, who is also a native BSL user, using a video platform they are already familiar with (e.g. Skype, FaceTime etc).  We also offer a text-based service for deaf clients who do not use BSL to ensure that it is accessible for everyone.  Our advisors deliver a significant amount of offline case work and support, moving cases forward on their behalf

Book Appointment Here 

deafPLUS have made a video so this information is available in BSL and accessible to Deaf people