Awarded £23,513 for computer equipment and an IT upgrade
About the service
Telford & The Wrekin Citizens Advice Bureau covers the whole of Telford and Wrekin and offers a general advice service for walk-in clients and appointments. The service offers free independent and confidential advice on a wide range of problems, including benefits, debt and money management, housing and the law.
What was needed
It is becoming increasingly difficult for people to manage their lives without access to the Internet, but many people don’t have Internet access or are not computer literate. As more public services become digital by default, the effects of digital exclusion will increase on some of the most vulnerable members of our community. For most CAB clients there is a need to use the Internet to resolve their issues and safeguard their household income. Online applications take time to complete – an online application for a Personal Independence Payment averages two hours. The service’s IT infrastructure was unable to cope with the increasing demand, which was restricting its ability to respond to client needs.
The service aims to help clients do as much as they can for themselves by using the online facilities it has available on site. Extra computers with furniture and monitors suitable for people with disabilities were needed.
What the Pride funding has meant to them
The service has increased the number of accessible computers which are available to the public every weekday and one evening a week. It has also added capacity on its IT server to accommodate increased public use and installed WiFi, which benefits customers as well as visiting solicitors who provide pro bono services.
Lyn Brayne, Service Director, said: “Our direct work with clients gives the clearest indication of the need for this project. Whilst we always aim to empower clients to do as much as possible for themselves, most of our clients tell us that they don’t have the skills and confidence to use their own or other publicly available online facilities. The equipment has made it much easier and quicker for us to help clients and support them in doing the digital activities needed to manage their lives.”
Telford & The Wrekin Citizens Advice Bureau’s main office is at 40 Tan Bank, Wellington (opposite Wellington Police Station), TF1 1HW. Opening times are Monday 9.30am to 4pm, Tuesday 9.30am to 7.30pm, Wednesday 9.30am to 4pm, Thursday 9.30am to 12.30pm and Friday 9.30am to 4pm. It also operates a telephone advice service on 0845 146 1554.