ConnectUp Linstone Housing Association

Linstone Housing Association

Charity registered in Scotland SC027454

Linstone Housing Association (Linstone) was set up in 1998 following a public authority transfer of former Scottish Homes housing stock and management functions to Linstone as a Registered Social Landlord (RSL). With around 1,580 properties, Linstone also acts as estate manager to 2,000 owner occupiers and provides a factoring service to approximately 490 owners. Linstone are one of the largest housing associations in Renfrewshire with the majority of properties in the Linwood and Johnstone areas.
Linstone is a not-for-profit organisation; any surplus is reinvested back into homes, communities and services. Registered with the Scottish Housing Regulator and run by a voluntary Management Committee, Linstone is also a registered Charity and an Industrial & Provident Society.
Working in partnership with Williamsburgh and Bridgewater Housing Associations Linstone manages the Connect4Renfrewshire (C4R) service which harnesses the best of local existing provision to bring streamlined services to residents of the three Housing Associations.

  • From 1st November 2017 to 30th June 2018
  • Award: £10,000 via Call 5
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Project plan

Project description

ConnectUp will provide a 2 hour weekly drop in session at each of our three Housing Associations. These sessions will be lead by a Digital Inclusion worker and will involve both one-to-one and small group provision. The aim of these sessions is to support residents to gain basic digital skills at their own pace following an identification of need (through existing referral mechanisms), or on a drop in basis (self-referral or signposting).

The Williamsburgh and Linstone ConnectUp sessions will be promoted as digital employability sessions, to provide participants with basic digital skills required to fulfil claimant commitments required of jobseekers such as Government Gateway accounts, Universal Job Match, CVs and cover letters, email accounts and website jobsearch, universal credit applications and meet the requirement of supporting working age people to increase financial capability, employment and other economic outcomes. In addition participants will gain the skills required to complete their online Universal Credit applications.

The ConnectUp provision at Bridgewater will be promoted as a history of Erskine workshop where older people will be supported to gain the skills required to enable them to look research prose and pictures online, providing participants with basic digital skills such as websearch and use of social media. Sessions will develop organically in response to the needs and interests of participants and would meet the requirement for supporting older and disabled people to reduce social isolation and loneliness.

Project milestones

Phase 1

Set –up : All set up actions will be completed in advance of the project start date, therefore all publicity, marketing, staff training will be carried out prior to delivery by the Project Co-ordinator who is already established in post.

Phase 2

An extensive evaluation will be carried out of both participants and partner agencies at the mid-point of the funding period. This will allow for identification of challenges and opportunities, to shape the service for the remainder of the funding period.

Phase 3

Service delivery will be completed in line with the proposed timescales. Basic digital skills questionnaires and client evaluations will have been completed by this date.

Phase 4

An end project evaluation will be prepared which will look at the overall success of the programme, and review how to ensure that the digital inclusion element is sustainable in its own right as part of the C4R service moving forward.

Evaluation

Updates

ConnectUP has now completed delivery, and we are pleased with the results. Residents have been supported to improve their digital skills, with 71% reporting an increase in confidence at the end of the project. Participants have been supported to learn how to use their own devices, as well as using those provided by the project and match funding. Feedback from participants suggested that the drop-ins also served a wider purpose, beyond improving digital skills, by allowing participants to feel more connected in their communities. Participants were able to find out about and access other services that are available to them, felt a sense of purpose and appreciated 'having somewhere to be'. This, along with the friendly, supportive environment helped to alleviate feelings of isolation and loneliness. Mary from Williamsburgh Housing stated that "[The project worker] has been a great help to me, I was not computer literate and wad dreading learning because I knew I would feel embarrassed and stupid, but [the worker] never made me feel I was either. I have enjoyed my time on the computer, doing CVs and looking for jobs, and logging on to Google and Facebook. [The worker] has been patient, kind, supportive and calm, especially when I have made many mistakes and still do. She has also shown me how to correct spelling mistakes that I have not noticed. I am pleased with what I have learned so far."
We are also pleased to report that we are continuing to run a Digital Job Club at one of our Hubs, and are looking at ways of up skilling staff and residents with Full Service Universal Credit roll out being imminent.

ConnectUP has now been rolled out across the three partner housing associations (Linstone, Williamsburgh and Bridgewater). We completed phase 1 of the programme in advance of the project start date, therefore all publicity, marketing, staff training was carried out prior to delivery.
As we are now at the midpoint of the project and in addition to the routine reflection we carry out, we move to Phase 2 - an extensive evaluation will be carried out of both participants and partner agencies. This will allow for identification of challenges and opportunities, to shape the service for the remainder of the funding period.
Utilising some match funding we have been able to purchase laptops and tablets for use for the duration of the SCVO funding and beyond, we believe these resources will allow us to continue to embed digital skills into our day to day business and interactions with residents.

Our digital work is delivered in partnership with: