We're not just about classrooms and text books
See what our students get up to while they're studying here with us.

Digital Inclusion and Support for the West End Community

Posted: 08.07.2024

With funding support from WEM, Lancaster & Morecambe College (LMC) are launching a new Digital Inclusion project in the West End this July, offering advice, support and training for local residents to help them develop essential digital skills.

Through a series of drop-in workshops and 1-1 sessions, adults will be able to build confidence and develop key skills in a supportive environment, allowing them to progress onto recognised qualifications. 

John Goodrich, who previously managed the Morecambe Learning Centre, will be offering a range of workshops and classes at The Link on West Street, a collaborative venture between Lancaster & Morecambe College, Lancaster District CVS, Morecambe Bay Poverty Truth and Stanleys Community Centre, which opens to the public this month. 

Charlotte Rawes, LMC's Vice Principal Progress & Performance, is pleased that the College is able to provide this much-needed support to local residents. 

"This project will enable Lancaster & Morecambe College to have a visible presence in the West End of Morecambe, providing support, advice & guidance to the wider community.

Digital Inclusion is essential for everyday life and this will help remove barriers for residents who are unable to access this support outside of their local area. It will also help individuals to develop confidence, knowledge and build key skills, supporting them to progress into employment or further training, or to simply communicate more effectively with family and friends."

Funding for the Digital Inclusion project coincided with plans for the opening of The Link on West Street, a collaboration which was borne out of the 2nd round of the Morecambe Bay Poverty Truth Commission. 

The idea was for the different agencies to work together out of one centre, offering a range of support, advice and learning opportunities to residents of the West End, and this came to fruition at the end of June, when The Link opened its doors for the first time.  Guests and visitors were able to drop-in to visit the centre, enjoy a cuppa and a cake, and chat with the team behind the partnership. 

So, who are the partners and how will the local community benefit from this new venture?

Lancaster District CVS work to improve communities by bringing people together and supporting voluntary, community, faith, and social enterprise sector organizations. They will use the space to meet with individuals and businesses across the local community.

Lancaster & Morecambe College will be offering 1-1 support to adults who want to develop their knowledge and skills; there will be informal drop-in sessions available, alongside funded Digital and IT qualifications.  As part of the College's new Positive Prospects project, they will also work with young people who are risk of NEET (not in education, employment or training) to support them to re-engage with learning and build confidence. 

Morecambe Bay Poverty Truth's main focus at The Link will be tackling digital exclusion. MBPTC is a member of National Databank and will be able to issue free sim cards to the most in need in our community. The Link will offer free Wi-Fi to anyone visiting the centre and MBPTC will use it as a headquarters for community commissioner recruitment and engagement.

Stanleys Community Centre will us The Link as additional space to host meetings and small group work, including Youth Social Prescribing, Youth Focus Groups and our Coaching and Support Services.

LMC's Head of Engagement, Victoria Carter, was excited to welcome visitors to the opening of The Link last month.

"It was wonderful to see so many people interested in what we are doing as a partnership. When we first started talking about this, it felt like a bit of a pipedream, but once we realised this space was available, everything fell into place. 

Nick Smith, who owns the row of shops on West Street (now known as The Verandah) is a passionate advocate of instilling pride in place and is keen to support the local community. This felt like a perfect analogy for what we were trying to do. The funding we received through WEM will enable us to support the whole West End community to access digital resources and learning in a dedicated space. "

The Link will initially be open 4 days per week, but the hope is that the partnership will expand to offer additional services to the community.