Digital Inclusion in Leeds: How does it feel for me? Autumn check inDownload (PDF 873KB)
Summary of report content
Healthwatch Leeds undertook follow up research to its July report on how people in Leeds are experiencing digital inclusion and exclusion. This briefing focusses in large part on the experiences of people facing the greatest health inequalities . Its insight comes from the new Communities of Interest network, which seeks to hear the voices of people facing multiple health inequalities.
The research identified five key themes. A lack of equipment and the funds to buy it was mentioned by every community Healthwatch spoke to, and in many cases was cited as the key barrier. While the work done by the third-sector and others has demonstrated how information and support can have a significant impact on people’s digital skills and confidence, a lack of knowledge and know-how remains an issue for people and organisations in Leeds.
Lockdown demonstrated the challenges of supporting adults and children whose home environments provide them with neither the safety nor privacy to access or disclose their needs to services. This, combined with a lack of money to get and stay online, has generated an appetite among multiple communities for public space to be equipped in such a way that it can be used to access the internet with an appropriate degree of privacy.
The switch to digital health and care often presents challenges for people with sensory and communication needs, particularly when they experience other risk factors such as limited support structures. Certain digital platforms can be more helpful than others, depending on an individual’s needs.
Even among the digitally enabled, the switch to remote health and care services can sometimes represent a profound – and at times worrying - change in their relationship with the organisations tasked with supporting them through their most vulnerable moments.
The report identified the actions that each community would need to become more digitally included.