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Digital exclusion is the inability to access or use online products or services and in 2018, 5.3 million adults in the UK (10%) of the UK population who were non-internet users. The pandemic has reduced this figure as more people use the internet to access services and keep in touch with friends and family, but more than a million homes (6%) of the UK population remain offline.

To tackle this issue, the ‘Staying Connected’ Digital Inclusion project aims to tackle the struggles related to digital exclusion and participation. Funded through the money raised by Sir Captain Tom Moore, the project addresses four key areas:

  • Access to equipment
  • Access to connectivity
  • Fear of using equipment
  • Skills in using the equipment

How the Staying Connected Project Works

The Staying Connected project has three elements:

  • Donating Equipment – have any unwanted tech lying around, please donate them to us.  The equipment will be securely wiped and given to someone who needs it. You can drop them into our offices at 48 High Street, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 3AF or into the Volunteer Centre Roundhouse in the Marlowes. Don’t forget to leave your details so that we know who has kindly donated the equipment and can send you the certificate that the equipment has been securely wiped.
  • Becoming a Digital Champion – Digital Champions to support people who want to find out more about using digital technology (computers, tablets and smartphones) and the internet. These superheroes will help people who are new to technology, or those who need some support, to use their devices effectively. Pop into the Volunteer Centre Roundhouse in the Marlowes to find out more.
  • Referring Beneficiaries – email connectadmin@communityactiondacorum.org.uk to ask for a referral form. 

PRESS RELEASE – 5th July 2024 

Community Action Dacorum Receives National Lottery Community Fund Grant to Fund Digital Inclusion Project “Staying Connected” 

Community Action Dacorum is delighted to announce that we have secured a grant from The National Lottery Community Fund to support our Hertfordshire-wide digital inclusion project, “Staying Connected,” for the next three years. This vital project, which began in 2020, is dedicated to supporting the 10% of people in Hertfordshire who are unable to access the digital world. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

If you are interested in any of the three areas above please email connectadmin@communityactiondacorum.org.uk.

Staying Connected has been shortlisted as finalists for several prestigious awards of which we are very proud. 

Impact Awards 2022
Inspiring Hertfordshire Awards 2023 Finalist Community Champion
Chamber of Conscience SME Hertfordshire Business Awards 2023

Additional Support in the Dacorum Area 

There are a range of organisations in the local area that run training sessions on digital skills. If you would like to find out more, we encourage you to check out our online Training and Development page.

Case Study


Jaikaar* arrived in the UK from India. He was full of hopes and dreams, and knew that if he worked hard, he could create a good life for his family. A number of years later his bride, Viloshni* joined him. Jaikaar worked hard and provided very well for his wife and their three children. The family were able to take regular holidays back to India to see their family. Life was sweet. Then, one night in 2017, as Jaikaar was crossing the road on his way home after his night shift, he was hit by a car. The driver didn’t stop. Jaikaar survived, but his injuries were life changing.

Viloshni, whilst fluent in both Punjabi and Hindi, had never had to speak much English. Her husband took care of all their day-to-day affairs. He was the person who knew about technology and sorted things out. In a second the family’s life had altered.

After a couple of months Jaikaar was discharged from the hospital. His mobility is severely restricted, he is in constant pain and he has no memory of where he went to school, or what his profession was.

Viloshni tried hard to find out what had happened on that fateful night in 2017, her lack of English was now a huge problem. Life had suddenly become nightmarishly difficult and finance was extremely tight. With the family in India, Viloshni had no one to help her with her husband or her children. Her caring duties were strenuous the lifting has left her with two crushed two vertebrae. She too is now in constant pain.

In 2021, a Link Worker referred Viloshni to the Staying Connected Project. Life became more hopeful.

The Staying Connected Project

The referral said that Viloshni would benefit from a laptop and training. Whilst desperate for the help, Viloshni was also very anxious. She felt her English wasn’t any good and she knew nothing about computers.

Following the home visit, a laptop was allocated to Viloshni and a Digital Champion, Carley* matched up with her. Connectivity was not needed as the family had a TV package. They might never have used their WiFi for a computer, but they still had it.

And from there Viloshni flew. Her English was far better than she herself thought it was. She was very quick at picking things up. She opened an email account, started to search the internet and to learn.

It was felt that Viloshni and her family would benefit from the use of a Tablet with connectivity. If she went and sat in her car, Viloshni could have a private Zoom call with her family. In this way, if she wanted to chat to them about her husband, she could do so in private.


Viloshni now searches the internet. She sends e-mails and the family does Zoom calls. With the Digital Champion’s help she is eager to learn much more, and she wants to find English courses. Her husband can hold the Tablet and speak to his family in India. When I asked Jaikaar about the benefit of seeing his family, he looked at me with painfilled eyes, with tears rolling down his cheeks. He can’t touch his family, but at least he can see them.

As for the Digital Champion Carley*, Viloshni told me: “People said to me that I must go somewhere to learn the computer. How can I do that? How can I leave my husband? How can I leave my children? How can I go out and learn when my mind is on so many things??? Carley, she comes to me. My husband he lies in the bed in the lounge. I can learn here and still know he is alright. I thought maybe the person teaching me would shout at me if I got things wrong. But Carley, she never shouts at me. She is kind, she is a friend, she is the family that I have here.”

I asked has the project helped you? “It has been helpful 1,000%. I don’t care who you tell, or if you use my name. You have helped us. Look at my husband. He is smiling. Normally he is scared if people come here because he thinks they might take him away to the hospital, but he knows you have come here to help.”

* Names have been changed to protect the family’s privacy.