Hidden from view near the M621
Not many locals know or frequent the Holbeck Community Centre on Elland Road, unlike its grand neighbour Leeds United Football Club, the community centre sits on the edge of the motorway sandwiched between the old terraced housing.
This modest community building provides a home for a range of groups Digital AccesS Holbeck, shortened to DASH is one such project.
DASH is funded by the National Lottery to provide computer access every Tuesday for early birds starting at 9:30am and finishes 12:30. The sessions are staffed to help people get online provide advice and one-to-one tuition is available. DASH provides an opportunity to volunteer with Get Technology Together (GTT.org.uk) who provide professional trainers and advisors. The sessions are drop-ins, although everyone has to register has a learner at their first visit.
There are good scanning and printing facilities available, learners can bring in their own equipment to access the internet via a WiFi connection. GTT provide equipment for learners to use in the session if they don’t have their own and there is no charge for this under the funding of this scheme.
Using technology is becoming the only way to find work or claim benefits
15th March was special day for the DASH project with the GTT team present in strength, Douglas Villegas from GTT encouraged learners to try a Virtual Reality headset with 360 Degree HD videos. Content for this technology is only just starting to be created. All I can say is you have got to try it once, and the technology will get better.
Everyone had a bit of fun, with the equipment, but this didn’t stop the daily function of the DASH facility. There were good chats about recent job interviews and job options with some more routine internet searching and applying for jobs online.
Other people were needing information finding on the internet and copying, DASH has been providing some basic signposting support for some of the locals providing some information that could find at the library for help. Having access to the internet to find out the ever changing rules and regulations about benefits and rights is a really useful part of the centres activities.
It’s not all work and problem solving; participation leads to learning
Taking time out of job searching to either do some online training courses or explore interests such processing and manipulating digital images, is all in a day’s work, but the important point of DASH is it provides a way for local people to extend their capabilities using technology.
Technology is still advancing at an ever increasing rate,. Everyone, even if they think they don’t use technology will use some form of computer chip whether it is their central heating boiler, TV or phone in the UK.
The Government has been implementing plans to save £1.7bn a year on transferring services online. Everyone has seen how the high street has changed with internet shopping, mobile banking services and public transport, booking tickets, getting accommodation and dealing with utility companies are all using online platforms to minimise costs to keep competitive in the global market.
Having basic internet skills can literally change your life.
Definition of the sky: As far as you can see.
Using the modest equipment at DASH learners have access to the knowledge of the entire World it their finger tips and have the stimulation of interacting with the trainers and other learners. There are interesting and diverse discussion between ad hoc groups of people.
Participation is the first step to learning, Everyone is encouraged to get hands on with the kit.
DASH is open PARTICIPATE. Change your life, look at the Sky.
This post was written by Vic Berry using our Create an article for South Leeds Life page.