Of the 25,000 residents at risk of digital exclusion we believe that two thirds are older people and most are from less affluent backgrounds, the remaining third are younger people and families from more deprived areas.
According to the 2019 Residents Survey, the most common reasons residents do not use the internet are as follows:
- No interest in the internet: 57%
- Do not have the skills to use internet: 45%
- Concerned about privacy/security: 29%
- Accessing internet costs too much: 17%
- Poor internet service: 4%
- Disability prevents me using internet: 5%
- Other reasons for not using the internet: 7%
Digital Exclusion Survey
Between January and April 2021, the Cheshire West Connected Communities Partnership conducted a digital exclusion survey, to better understand the needs and attitudes of digitally excluded residents.
Partners were asked to telephone clients they felt might be at risk of digital exclusion, 148 responses were collected. The results were as follows:
Among non-internet users the main reasons for digital exclusion included:
- lack of digital skills
- perceived lack of suitable local digital skills support
- high cost of devices and connectivity
The most frequently cited ways to encourage non-internet users to get online included:
- a device loan
- a one to one session with a digital champion
However, the majority stated that they would not be interested in getting online.
Digital exclusion also exists among internet users, with 20% of people who described themselves as internet users also reporting that their devices or data plans are insufficient to perform vital tasks such as applying for jobs or video calling.
What this means for our project
These results influenced the Partnership’s work in the following ways:
- demonstrated the value of easy to access digital skills support
- highlighted the need to raise awareness of the problem of digital exclusion and the existence digital inclusion services among frontline staff across the voluntary and public sector
- demonstrated the need to raise awareness of digital inclusion services among residents proved the need for a low-cost option to access the internet.
*Note: The data from the Cheshire West and Chester Acorn Profile is modelled data. Acorn is a consumer classification tool that segments the UK population by postcode. The Acorn profile provides a summary of the demographic, social and lifestyle attributes of residents and is an estimate of the likely characteristics which is based on the profile of the UK population.