A project which aims to give new skills and confidence to those who have suffered from domestic violence has flourished, thanks to a Community Outreach Grant from UK online centres and Nominet Trust.
The project teams local UK online centre INTACT joined up with Preston Domestic Violence Service (PDVS), a local service which supports those suffering from domestic violence, to help women in abusive relationships to grow both their skills and confidence.
The initial grant meant INTACT could set up regular sessions at three different venues in Preston, including at a local refuge and a drop-in centre in the town centre. Being able to use these venues for computer and internet courses has helped them fulfil one of the most important aims of the programme - that women can gain the skills they need in a safe and supported environment where they feel comfortable.
Helen Dixon, Project Leader says: “The women that come to us are often going through a big cycle of change, and some of them are still in abusive relationships. That means we need to work closely with them, build up their trust and introduce them to the benefits of using the internet slowly, at a pace that is right for them.”
"It’s early days in terms of the project, but its already had a real impact. The women are able to become empowered while maintaining their privacy, and it’s been fantastic to see them build up their self esteem and identity."
Helen has already seen some of the great benefits the project is bringing about. She says: “The internet is such a fantastic tool for them - it’s something they can do at home without any money, and they can do it without having to leave the house as for some women this can be problematic. They can even access forums for people in the same situation so they don’t feel so alone.”
“Not only are we providing computer skills, but we can also identify other needs. Often the women don’t have English as a first language, but once we have started helping them we can identify these literacy needs. One lady didn’t speak English, and so we arranged for an interpreter to help her out. By taking this language barrier away, she was able to pick up the skills she needed, and could contact her sister who lived in . This was a real lifeline for her.”
“We couldn’t have done this without the funding from Nominet Trust and UK online centres - it’s meant we’ve been able to buy laptops and dongles so we can help people wherever they feel comfortable, and have been able to train up staff to help them."
About the Community Outreach Programme
Last summer we teamed up with UK Online Centres to provide new grant funding for local organisations working in the heart of communities to get more people online.The 'Community Outreach Fund' supported more than 150 innovative outreach projects, helping local community organisations to help people get online in places in the community that they feel comfortable. We have filmed a few of the projects so you can find out about some of the communities that have benefited from this programme.