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Fulham Good Neighbours
Since 1966 Fulham Good Neighbours has supported older and disabled people in their homes and gardens, community and at our community centre, and now online.In 2019 we received The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.Our projects aim to:• Tackle older people's concerns raised in 2019 local Older People’s Commission (LBHF). These related mainly to: 1. access to services; 2. loneliness and…
Project overview for completed projects

Course Title:  MSc Global Prosperity

Dissertation Title:  Age, Digital Inclusion and Community-based Services: A Case Study on The Digital Inclusion Project of Fulham Good Neighbours

Community Partner:  Fulham Good Neighbours

Academic supervisor:  Kate Maclean

Research Abstract:  One of the key aspects of prosperity is “the relationship between individual lives – their quality, aspiration and purpose – and the larger systems and constraints within which they are embedded” (Moore and Mintchev, 2021, p.3). As the Covid pandemic has accelerated the process of the digitalization, digital skills have become essential for people to establish relationships with others and the larger social system (Great Britain. Office for National Statistics, 2019). Age has always been an important determinate of the digital divide. Studies have shown that during the lockdown, older people have become more isolated than other groups of people due to the inability to stay connected with others (Cosco et al., 2021; Weil et al., 2021).

Therefore, this dissertation aims to explore potential solutions to the digital divide through examining how age and digital inclusion co-constitute each other. It argues that since age and digital divide are complex and co-constituting assemblages that exist locally, community-based services based on progressive localism is a better way to solve the digital divide than current policies based on austerity localism. A case study on the digital inclusion project of Fulham Good Neighbours will be used.

I have done 20 interviewees with the staff, beneficiaries and volunteers of Fulham Good Neighbour. The expected outcome will be an dissertation with clear argument about the complexity of age and digital inclusion and how community-based services and progressive localism could offer a potential solutions to the generational digital divide. There will also be a community product (potentially a poster or an executive report outlining the strength of FGN to help FGN attracts more funding).

Idea for research
Idea for research
Fulham Good Neighbours has an established Digital Inclusion project (established 2018), which supports older and disabled people in Fulham via one to one volunteer support in the home, remotely or at our community centre.

Historically the project has supported those who already have technology and internet connectivity in place. We now have funding from the London Marathon Charitable Trust for technology and data bundles so that those most excluded can now access the project too.

We would like to explore the impact of this project, particularly:
impact on access to services
impact on levels of loneliness and isolation
impact on poverty and deprivation

We would also like to explore the success of the project, or otherwise, on engaging beneficiaries with our:
online chair based exercise project
online art project
online horticultural opportunities

We would also like to explore the success of the project, or otherwise, on engaging non-housebound beneficiaries with our home & garden and community & community centre based projects.
Impact of idea
We are proud of our portfolio of projects. However, as a small charity we do not have the capacity to interrogate the hard and soft data as much as we would like. Support by an academic researcher would enable us to explore what we do well, and what we don't do well, and to work toward enhancing and developing what we do well and improving and developing in areas of the project, which are not as successful. We would like to use this support to develop our internal M&E mechanisms, while also contributing to broader external dialogue as to how the 3rd, public and private sector can collaborate to use digital inclusion to impact the wellbeing of older, disabled and disadvantaged beneficiaries. We would like to be able to influence the replication of the project on a larger scale via dissemination of learning via speaking opportunities and literature publication where feasible.
Comments
Since 1966 Fulham Good Neighbours has supported older and disabled people in their homes and gardens, in the community, and now online. We support over 500 beneficiaries, supported by over 100 local volunteers. In 2019 we received The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. In 2021 our impact survey found:
• 100% beneficiaries would recommend our services; and
• 100% feel we create a community where neighbours look out and care for each other.

Support in the Home and Garden via:
• Food to the Door – hot meals/food packages and toiletries delivered up to four times a week
• Gardening – for those that cannot pay, nor have the ability to do the work themselves. Also: Adopt a Garden – befriending & gardening support; and Online Gardening workshops – delivered in partnership with Nubian Life
• Decorating & DIY – for those that cannot pay, nor have ability to do the work themselves

Support in the Community via:
• Befriending – via telephone or in person
• Good Neighbour Scheme - grocery shopping, medication delivery, escorts to appointments etc
• Social Clubs; Art, Chair Based Exercise, Craft, Lunch, Reading, Silver, Sunday Tea

Support Online via:
• Digital Inclusion support – supporting those excluded from digital communications
• Online Art Group – delivered directly into the homes of beneficiaries
• Online Chair Based Exercise – as above

Our services aim to:
• Tackle key concerns raised in 2019 local Older People’s Commission (LBHF) regards: access to services; loneliness & isolation; and poverty & deprivation.
• Recognise 2017 Index For Wellbeing in Later Life (Age UK & University of Southampton) findings: that meaningful engagement contributes at least 20% to wellbeing; and that, of 40 indicators, creative & cultural engagement & physical activity are most significant.
• Recognise that there should be 'Nothing About Disabled People Without Disabled People' as per the 2018 local Disabled People's Commission.

The Borough has above national and London average poverty levels (31%) and has been hit disproportionately hard by the C-19 pandemic. The key estate on which we work is in the top 10% most deprived neighbourhoods in England.

If you have any existing data or information you would like included in a project, please tell us what kind of data these are

Application process
Application criteria
- Interest in community development, charity, digital inclusion.
- Ability to analyse hard and soft data.
- Ability to chat with older people in a community centre or on telephone, and able to consider social cues e.g. to speak louder or enunciate more as needed - nothing that you wouldn't do if speaking to an older person or someone hard of hearing in a normal circumstance.
- Ability to be at ease with a beneficiary, and to take information down while making the individual feel heard.
- Clear communication skills and style, conversationally and written.
DBS needed
Yes
Is this project fully accessible to students with the disabilities?
Yes
Disabilities information
We have accessible entrance and toilet facilities. The office space upstairs would not be accessible for a wheel chair user, however with a laptop they can work in main hall.