Trial was self funded, Eastbourne Borough Council paid for further sessions
Post Brexit, the UK Government required EU citizens living in the UK to apply for ’Settled Status’ in order to stay in the country.
We discovered that the applications could only be made online, and required a modern smartphone or tablet. The applicant also needed a reasonable level of written English, and to have specific detailed pieces of information to hand.
This meant many EU citizens in Eastbourne weren’t able to complete an application. They were either paying expensive agencies to help, or were simply stuck, and unable to do anything.
We ran a few pilot sessions to better understand the issues, using a digital skills outreach grant we already had. Our local council saw the work, and provided scale up funding.
By the end of the programme in April 2021, we helped around 200 people apply for EU Settled Status. We were also able to train volunteers in Lewes, Newhaven, Seaford and Peacehaven to set up their own projects.
Online only applications are increasingly becoming the norm, and we’re meeting countless people who’re left behind.
Some don’t have devices to get online, and we’re tackling this with our Donate a device project. Others don’t have wifi or the skills and confidence to get online, and we’re piloting an approach with Citizens Advice 1066 to tackle this.
We think these projects, and many others we’ve run or heard about, illustrate the need for significant ongoing funding to tackle digital exclusion issues.