There will be some major changes to the benefits system that will come into effect in April, which will require most of our members to be doing all of their registering and work-related activities online. All benefits applications will also be done online.
Many of our members are not very IT literate and some struggle with basic tasks like turning on a computer or using a mouse. This will have profound implications for them. The sanctions if you don’t perform your “tasks” (on the computer) week in, week out include having your benefits withheld for 13 weeks, 26 weeks or 156 weeks (if it happens 3 times…). Nightmare!!
We need to up the ante a bit with our IT classes, which have continued on a biweekly basis but facilitated by volunteers. At the moment it’s rather casual, most members know what they want to work on (learning Word, setting up an email account, etc) and they get 1:1 or 1:2 support from volunteers throughout the evening.
We’re be interested in revisiting the idea of a curriculum specifically equipping members with skills they’d need to successfully jump through the hoops the DWP is laying out for them. It would be presented to members as such, and therefore should garner quite a bit of attention/interest.
It could be a 4 week course, for instance, still keeping the total number of attendees small, and we will encourage members to sign up for the next set of groups if they did not get into it the first time around.
If you’re interested in helping us develop this curriculum (maybe you already understand the changes that will be affecting our members, or are interested in finding out more for yourself), or you think you could help us by delivering small group or individual support to our adult members, we want to hear from you!