eRB, RB’s eCommerce and digital division, is partnering with Good Things Foundation today to launch a project partnering with 15 community organisations* across England to support over 1,500 people to gain essential digital skills and health literacy. Digital inclusion can improve health and wellbeing by enabling people to take control of their health and care, and access trusted information and services.
Good Things Foundation - a social change charity, and sector-leader in digital inclusion for socially excluded groups - will deliver the new initiative.
At the height of the response to Covid-19, 2.2 million people in the UK were advised to shield in order to protect themselves from the virus (ONS 2020*). Nearly 1.4 million of these have said they are continuing to shield.
Those unable to connect and use digital technology face increased health risks: they cannot order medicines online, find health information online, book GP or hospital appointments online, or get health advice from their GP using video calling. They are also more likely to experience loneliness and social isolation, both of which can have damaging effects on mental health.
Since 2013, Good Things Foundation has worked with the National Health Service to deliver Widening Digital Participation, focusing on digital health literacy and improving access to health through digital inclusion.
Good Things Foundation is using the learning from the programme to drive a new model of community-based digital health literacy through Digital Health Hubs. This comes at a time when community support for digital health inclusion is so desperately needed - especially for people who are digitally excluded and shielding in their homes. Hubs will provide safe, skilled and friendly support remotely and/or in line with Government guidance on social distancing. Good Things Foundation will work with community partners, including some who were involved in the first pilots.
The partnership with eRB will support 15 Digital Health Hubs in England to support 1,500 people to gain essential digital skills and build digital health literacy. These locally-led partnerships will run over a 12 month period and include partners with expertise in supporting people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. More experienced hubs will provide peer support and learning groups - building capacity and developing a community of practice.
Helen Milner OBE, Good Things Foundation Chief Executive, says:
“We’re delighted to join with eRB, RB’s eCommerce division - supporting community organisations to drive up digital inclusion for healthier lives and communities. Seeing companies like RB support action on digital health literacy is a fantastic step in the right direction. Now’s the time to tackle the shocking health inequalities Covid-19 has brought so sharply into focus.
Arjun Purkayastha, Senior Vice President for eRB, says:
“As an eCommerce business we are constantly striving to push the boundaries on digital, finding new ways to help consumers easily access products and information to promote good health and hygiene. We partner with organisations who support our fight to make access to high quality hygiene, wellness and nourishment a right and not a privilege."
*ONS (2020): Coronavirus and shielding of clinically extremely vulnerable people in England: 9 July to 16 July 2020.