Supported by the Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner’s Vulnerability Fund, 1st June 2021 – 31st May 2022
Working alongside statutory and community-based organisations, including the Police and The Bureau in Glossop, the “Connect Against Crime Project” provided refurbished IT equipment and online safety advice to vulnerable people, families, and community groups in the High Peak.
The aim was not only to improve their general wellbeing via access to the online world but also to reduce the likelihood of them being either victims of crime or engage in criminal or anti-social behaviour.
In addition, people identified by our community partners as vulnerable were provided with the opportunity to become Volunteer IT Refurbishers and positively engage and develop their skills within a supported group setting. This raised their own awareness of cybercrime, boosted their confidence, and helped develop a sense of community belonging.
What did we do and how did it help?
Our new volunteer refurbishers
The funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner enabled us to recruit a Technical Lead Worker; we were then able to create a six week ‘Workshop Experience’ programme of activities for the new volunteer refurbishers to undertake at our regular workshops. This included building a PC, installing, and updating an operating system and recycling. Participants were also given information on cyber safety.
The volunteers told us:
“I liked the first session pulling apart and putting a desktop together. I did learn a few new things on the course.”
“Learnt more about internal structure of systems, installation and updates procedures.”
Getting devices to vulnerable people
We network with businesses and individuals to source donations of unwanted IT equipment for us to refurbish and redistribute. At the start of the project, we set out to provide 50 laptops, tablets, or PCs to people referred to us via our community partners within the High Peak. By the end of the year, we had distributed 89.
All the people referred to us didn’t have access to equipment, 98% were in receipt of means tested benefits and 24% had a disability. More than 87% of recipients wanted to improve their employment prospects and 59% needed a device to access online training or education.
The recipients told us:
- “[the laptop] has opened doors and opportunities”
- “Wouldn’t be able to do the course otherwise”
- “Absolutely could not have afforded one”
Sharing information about online safety
An important focus of the project was getting across to participants, clients, and the wider public information about cyber safety.
Our workshop received a visit from PCSO Ann Morris from Glossop Police Safer Neighbourhood Team and volunteers regularly had opportunities to discuss cybercrime and internet scams. Recipients of devices were provided with information on online safety.
In addition, information was shared via our online social media platforms.
Volunteers recruited to the Workshop Programme have been invited to continue as regular attendees and we will continue to welcome more participants to the workshops.
We will continue to spread awareness of online safety.