Dot Can Comas


Charity registered in Scotland SC039670

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Project plan

Project description

Dot Can will help disadvantaged people to use online resources, communicate online and access services and support they need. Dot Can will reduce isolation, empower people and reduce barriers to full participation in society.



The project has started well, the concept and the practical need was so readily understood and the demand high, that it has really taken off. Demand already outstrips our capacity on the project. This is partly because it takes time to develop quality volunteers to help out.

Phase one:
We have established Digital Drop-in Surgeries and staff slots within Comas projects on a weekly basis. Monday mornings for staff digital induction and this involves utilising Comas shared drive, intraweb, e-mail set up on computers and hand held devices, setting up Google calendar accounts and using the web effectively.

5 members of staff have already been through this with more on the way in May.

4 volunteers have engaged in Digital Inclusion work including using Excel for report writing as part of their SVQ in community development, using the internet effectively for sourcing materials and images, creating reports on MS office packages, saving documents and group emailing.

Memory Box has been a bit slower to start though we’ve now done 3, we produced one to highlight how these can be used and shaped by individuals and groups - Memory Box Stories this has led to community members now wanting to use similar packages to tell stories.

3 community work staff involved in learning about digital inclusion and opportunities for more learning with the idea to roll out to the community.

Community Drop ins at the Serenity have started and have 4 people in recovery now more skilled in using web based tools for messaging and social media. Using tablets and smart phones in particular where members are now using social media to keep in touch with friends and family. This has already led to staff enquiries about software packages for doing newsletters etc. so going to run some short classes specifically on linking MS office and other packages that are presently underused. Meanwhile providing people with templates and digital examples of reports that they can alter to their project needs.

Dumbiedykes area has a new computer linked into the shop with access for folk to do online forms and use it for emailing, Skype and shopping. Will be running classes and assisted support next week and have 3 people signed up to help them understand different aspects of using IT. First session was helping a community activist to use a scanner and send info for a local area newsletter, taking viruses off machines and linking up hardware for staff, changing Wi-Fi passwords and access for shop users.

An embedded approach to digital inclusion throughout Comas projects, in which all our community members are aware of online opportunities, services and resources which can enrich, empower and enable them to live happier, healthier lives and participate in society.

A more digitally aware and skilled group of staff (many are community members in their first community work roles), who can sustain embedded digital empowerment in their work.

• 20 community work staff will be more skilled in digital inclusion and confident to sustain digital participation.
• 20 vulnerable older people in Craigmillar will develop skills through digitising family mementoes and creating an online memory box to share with younger generations of their families.
• 40 weekly Dot Can group sessions.
• 50 people recovering from addiction in Serenity Café will have email addresses, be able to use a Drop Box / OneDrive to store a CV and essential files, use Google Calendar to manage their appointments and volunteering, and feel confident to browse the internet.
• 50 1:1 surgery sessions
• 12 monthly drop-in Q&A sessions.

The Dumbiedykes community will have improved access to online resources through accessible PCs in their community and a full investigation of community broadband:
• 30 people with limited mobility will be supported to shop and access services online
• 20 unemployed people will be able to use online job searches, an email address and DropBox/OneDrive for their CV.
• A Dot Can development group of residents will meet weekly for 6 months to develop community solutions.

Things that worked well so far:
• Need to be very flexible in responding as people at very different and often basic levels of comprehension about using IT. Some very much afraid to utilise it because of hearing stories of machines crashing, viruses being uploaded and the jargon people use has held them back from using IT before.
• Working where people are at, showing how useful it can be and going at a speed that is suitable for them using ordinary language seems to help a lot.

Things that we would do differently next time:
• Get more resources to have more time to do it
• Market it clearer from the start on what we can and can’t do. I.e. we’re not going to do it all for them, we’re to help them do it themselves.

Our digital work is delivered in partnership with: