Swindon Advocacy Movement is calling on the people of Swindon to work together to ensure that our residents with learning disabilities are no longer excluded from life online.
Together, we can end the digital exclusion of people with learning disabilities in Swindon.
Imagine a life without internet access. Imagine having no way to contact loved ones and access vital services online. That’s the everyday reality of so many people living in Swindon – especially those with learning with disabilities. And the isolation they feel has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis.
If we all work together this is an issue that the people of Swindon can easily solve.
Starting from today there are a number of things which we believe can be done by everyone in Swindon to begin to really address this unacceptable isolation and exclusion within our community.
We are inviting individuals, workplaces, organisations and local service providers to ask themselves these questions;
- Will local service providers take steps to ensure people have regular and easy access to the internet?
- Will carers and support workers pledge to increase their own confidence and skills to better enable people to explore the internet and digital technology in their everyday lives?
- Will adults with LD think about ways in which using digital technology and the internet might be useful in their every day lives and enable them to live more independently?
- Will workplaces and other organisations consider donating good quality but unused digital technology and accessories to people who currently don’t have access to any?
- Will individuals with the time and skills think about volunteering to patiently share their skills and support people to embark on their digital journey?
- Will we, as a community, advocate for all adults with a learning disability to have their digital needs recognised and addressed in their support plans as a matter of urgency?
- Will you pledge to support us in this campaign?
Some people think that people with learning disabilities can’t use the internet. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Darren is a 48 year old with learning disabilities living independently in Swindon. For him, being able to access the internet on his tablet over the last year has been an absolute lifeline.
“I love being able to talk to people on my tablet. I use Zoom and Teams to chat with people and I do lots of courses. I do Art online every week with my old Drama group because we can’t see each other in person at the moment. I even had a valentine’s meal with my girlfriend on Zoom because we couldn’t be together!”Darren, December 2020
During the pandemic, when it has been safe to do so, many other adults with learning disabilities have come into our town centre SAM house to use the laptops and learn how they worked, and to be introduced to technology such as Zoom, which is now second nature to so many people.
But once lockdown hit again, many people were on their own.
“I have a mobile phone but the only way I can get online is when my support worker can let me go on her phone with her.”Tanya, February 2021
Here at Swindon Advocacy Movement, we have done everything we can to try and get our members online and confidently to ensure they weren’t isolated during the lockdowns. This has involved sourcing funding tablets for people to borrow, and we are currently working on trying to provide people who don’t have access to wifi with data-filled dongles.
But as an independent charity, we can’t help everyone. That’s why we’re campaigning to put digital access for everyone at the heart of the Swindon Community as we all begin to adapt to this increasingly digitally-reliant new normal.
Digital access for learning disabled people benefits everyone
Today, everyone requires the ability to speak to friends and family, find answers to questions and connect with the world online to lead a full, independent and happy life.
People with learning disabilities want leg-ups, not hand-outs. And providing digital access to learning-disabled people in Swindon would give them a leg up in life, helping them help themselves in everyday situations.
Having more independent, fulfilled people in our community can only make Swindon a better, fairer place to be.
A word from our CEO
“Life is harder for people with disabilities. When work is harder to find, and when everyday tasks are harder to achieve, getting set up with the internet can be lower down the list of priorities.
But the pandemic has shown just how crucial digital access is – and it has shown me how big the digital divide is between the haves and have nots.
With a bit of digital access support, we could transform the lives of people with learning disabilities for the better.
Digital inclusion is a gateway to social participation and independent living. Let’s make that happen for our fellow Swindon residents”
– Dawn Dixon, CEO, Swindon Advocacy Movement
Support our campaign
We’re fighting to make sure that people in our community who have learning disabilities have digital access. But we can’t make this change alone.
We need our community to join us in saying that digital exclusion is unacceptable in our town.
Please make a pledge to support our campaign by clicking the button below.