The challenges of delivering online support

Julia Shipston Julia Shipston

Volunteering charity TimeBank is researching the barriers that beneficiaries face in accessing online services – especially women in South Asian communities.

Over the last five years TimeBank has delivered an extensive English language programme for learners with very little English, led by trained volunteers. That programme came to an end as a result of Covid-19. TimeBank has since developed online delivery models but identified a significant challenge in persuading Muslim women to make use of video support.

 It is now working with ‘tech for good’ digital agency Ayup to understand this reluctance, to find out more about the needs and behaviours of beneficiaries and how digital, data and design can best support them.

The project has been funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, distributed by CAST, to help address urgent issues which affect the most vulnerable.

The four week project is primarily focussed on the charity’s beneficiaries in South Asian communities in the West Midlands but the learning it gains will enable TimeBank to ensure that online delivery of its volunteering projects better meets the needs of all its beneficiaries.

TimeBank Chief Executive Phil Pyatt says: “Digital literacy has never been more important. Like many organisations, the pandemic has changed the way we work and our priority has been to continue to offer as much support as possible online. This funding will really help us to understand how to do that most effectively.”

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