Thursday, 22 September 2011

Kit Kats, FOMO and digital inclusion

One of the most exciting projects I'm working on at the moment is the New Low Hill Community Website. The website is part of a wider project called 'Celebrating Low Hill', which aims to champion an area of Wolverhampton.
I've been working on the website with a group of tenants and Hugh Flouch and Kevin Harris from Networked Neighbourhoods. The tenants - some of whom had never used the internet - were inspired to try and set up a website so that they could shout about the great stuff going on in their area. They had got tired of people knocking the place they lived and they wanted to tell the world about Low Hill.
Since June, the group has been meeting every week or so at the local community centre, fuelled by lots of tea and kit kats, to put their idea into action.
With the help (and immense patience and knowledge) of Hugh and Kevin, they have built the New Low Hill Community Website, which will launch on Thursday 29 September (it's password protected at the moment). They named it 'New Low Hill', because they wanted it to be a fresh start for the area.
They selected the colours - based on Low Hill's historic village green; they decided what should be on the website and the kind of discussions they hope will take place; they decided who should do what and they built the website themselves.
Carol (third in from the right) did the majority of building and her IT knowledge was, as she admits, very low - she wasn't even used to a QWERTY keyboard.
Jackie, (fourth in from the right), who had, up to that point, forcefully resisted the internet at home has today had it installed. The Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) has driven her to get on-line and proves what I'd long suspected that social media is a driver to digital inclusion..
Today they presented the website to their local councillors, Peter Bilson and Paul Sweet. They told the story of what they had done and asked for their support in getting it off the ground, while making sure they were clear it was not to be used as a party political tool.
Their passion for their area and their anticipation at the potential of this on-line community shone through and the councillors happily said they would support it.
This is the start of a hugely exciting journey for the group and Low Hill and I can't wait to see where they take it.

Caption (L-R): Joan Morgan, Pat Kinsey, Carol Billingham, Jackie Durnall, Cllr Peter Bilson, Cllr Paul Sweet. (Behind) Anita from Midland Heart and Hugh Fluch.


  1. It's great to see that this project is nearing the launch Kate, can't wait to see what the residents have come up with.

    It's also really encouraging to see people who have minimal experience of using computers and the internet coming together and using these tools for the good of their community - definitely a win-win situation for all!

  2. Thank you James. I'd love you guys to meet them one day so they can see what you've done and the potential for their site. I'm going to try to get them to the Social Media Surgery in November. :)

  3. Just ran into your blog. Big compliment for your initiative and interesting content. I shared it on Twitter with your Dutch colleagues, so expect some extra visits from across the canal. Keep up the good work!

    Kind regards,

    Tino Meijn

  4. Thank you so much Tino - really appreciated. :) Just followed you on Twitter!



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