Digital hubs: helping you get online

Go in the main doors at Fred Perry House, turn left and you will see a bank of computers and iPads waiting to be used by the public.

Now, on Monday and Thursday mornings from 9.30am to 1pm you will see a Digital Assistant from Citizens Advice Stockport ready to give clients a hand to access a range of online services. We can help clients:

  • Get online
  • Access online advice & information or submit electronic forms
  • Make a brief assessment of their enquiry and provide basic information

In our first month working on the digital service, we have supported clients in applying for a blue badge, checking their benefit entitlement, paying their council tax and even finding the address of their nearest Post Office — the list is endless.

There are a huge amount of useful resources online and the last month has shown that with a little help and support clients can often find the information and advice they need on the internet, saving them having to wait to see someone on our drop-in.

We launched the new digital service on 20th September and over the 9 mornings the service has been running, we have supported 51 clients to access the information they require.

Our aim is to empower our clients and give them the support they need to access services themselves. We’ll give you tips and guidance that give you the confidence to use the internet on your own in future.

Since launching the service we have found that often people are simply lacking in confidence using computers, and having someone there to ask questions to and get reassurance from makes all the difference.

Sometimes clients do need more support with their issue and we will still provide this through our drop-in and telephone services. We will make a brief assessment of the client’s needs and provide information on how to access our services and get further help. If there is an emergency issue we will link the client directly into our service to get that urgent support.

John phoned our service recently and was told about the Digital Hub service:

“I phoned the Citizens Advice office in Stockport to know what impact me starting a part time job would have on my Employment and Support Allowance. I’d been out of work for 2 years following an accident but I felt ready to get back to work.
“The advisor told me about the digital hub at Fred Perry House on a Monday and Thursday morning, so I went and the assistant supported me complete a BetterOff calculation myself — it was so quick and saved me loads of time and I now know how to do it myself online.”

Traditionally, John would have had to wait for an appointment where an adviser would have met with him to do a benefit calculation using the BetterOff software. Now, with support from our digital assistants, John was able to attend the digital hub at Fred Perry House and complete the benefits check himself — empowering him and giving him the skills and knowledge to complete the task again without support if he needs to.

Jenny & Daiva — Digital assistants

The team are really looking forward to helping people get online, providing clients with the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to be able to help themselves. More information about our digital hubs can be found on our website.