Digital Exclusion

Members told us that as access to services and rights increasingly moved online, marginalised people and their organisations have become increasingly excluded. Members asked us to work with them to connect digitally excluded Londoners to highlight intersecting barriers to digital inclusion and rights to ‘in real life’ (IRL) alternatives.

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

This historic emergency has also demonstrated the creativity, responsiveness, and flexibility of London’s civil society largely due to so many VCS being run by marginalised people and having incomparable connections into intersectional and under-heard communities.

Commissioned case studies

Thanks to the support of our funder Trust for London we are paying members to write up case studies, evaluations, briefings, create blogs, vlogs, toolkits, hacks, or content demonstrating good practice in getting intersectional and excluded communities online, using tech for good and examples when face-to-face IRL interactions are needed and digital won’t do.

HEAR’s 11th Digital Exclusion case study comes from Community Action a peer support group:

Accessiblity Go! Getting Creative At Home
By Chris Pavlakis of Community Action

Community Action is a peer support group of persons with lived experiences in Greater London. They are a mixed group, with 37 members, the youngest is 38 yrs old and the oldest 65, and has members from BAME communities, members who identify themselves as males, females and non-binaries. Community Action grew from three people who met in a digital storytelling workshop run by the Institute for Medical Humanities, Durham University that stayed in touch, met regularly for peer support, sharing about their mental health journey for comfort and support.

Understanding the needs of their community as well as digital exclusion led Community Action to develop Hybrid Remote working and accessibility to enable isolated people to stay connected and creative and encourage use of technology by building confidence and safe online spaces. Some recommendations and good practice below:

  • “Disabled People are seen primarily as ‘benefit claimants’ and ‘needy’ & their relationship with the system has a fundamental power imbalance;
  • Traditional, top-down approaches & assumptions turn out to narrow the scope of delivery in terms of digital services or training programmes;
  • Even if support was improved, the lack of trust in the system means disabled people may not engage.

Our suggestion against this context are in favor of a community-led approach as response:

  • Treating people as people;
  • Starting with people’s strengths;
  • Empowering people to make their own choices;
  • Support based on what people need, including but not limited to financial, emotional and technical support;
  • Starting where trust already exists…

Local services must work well together in partnership to meet people’s needs…

  • Community participation, particularly among those facing complex disadvantage, should be actively facilitated throughout design & delivery;
  • Funding & evaluation should promote collaborative, community-led support”

Digital Inclusion Project Report By METRO GAD is the 10th Digital Exclusion case study. and currently has over 100 members and supported 500 people during 2019 to 2020.


ALLFIE produced the 9th case study on rights to #RemoteEducation in the law

The Chronic Illness Inclusion Project #RemoteRevolution case study was the 8th in the series. You can download below, and watch a video from CIIP founder via HEAR instagram


#AnotherTypeOfVirus from People First case study and video from learning disabled content creators to explain need for mutual aid and campaign for rights like accessible public health information.

#WorkingTogetherForDigitalInclusion from Parents and Communities Together (PACT) case study part 1, part 2 and part 3. Also available in google docs with animations made by particpants Section 1: Case Studies, Section 2: Learnings, Section 3: Kids’ Artwork

#MoreThanJustDevices Superhighways

Centre for Armenian Informations and Advice

Micro Rainbow

Chronic Illness Inclusion Project

Traveller Movement

7 Deadly Sins of Digital Exclusion

Before the pandemic we developed the #7DeadlySins of #DigitalExclusion with our members. It includes examples of how to overcome barriers to make sure all Londoners are part of the #DigitalRevolution. What do you think? Could this help you explain digital exclusion to stakeholders and statutory authorities? How could it be better? Do you have examples of good practice you want to share? Read the whole 7 Deadly Sins of Digital Exclusion or  👀images to the right

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