Digital Communities: Week 1 Overview

by O2 Business

At the start of October, we launched the Digital Communities project in St Helens. It’s a national first – a town transformation made possible by the power of technology. It’s part of our ambition to show that embracing digital can improve lives, grow businesses and build connections in a community.

The three-month long project has kicked off and we’ll be keeping track of how it’s all going. Every Monday we’ll take a look back at the week before, to see how O2 is helping St Helens. So, let’s cast an eye over launch week…

The O2 Digital Hub in St Helens’ Hardshaw Centre opened on the 8th of October. The following days were a flurry of activity with competitions, presentations and guest appearances. Ann Pickering, O2’s HR Director, spoke about the rise in the number of digital jobs available and, as a result, the opportunity for UK businesses to support young people in developing relevant skills. And Ben Dowd, O2’s Business Director, reinforced this with a reminder that the UK has a massive digital skills gap – which the Digital Communities project aims to help fill.

The first workshop, on the 13th of October, was our chance to put these comments into action. The Power of Social Media session was fully booked by keen participants, all wanting to learn more about how social media impacts the way we work, play and live our lives. Our very own social media expert, Bradley Tooth, spoke about tailoring social profiles, warned of the potential dangers of sharing too much and also how young people can use social media to give themselves an advantage in the eyes of prospective employers. It was a whistle-stop tour of how to get set for success in a digital world.

The next day, St Helens Council led the Council Services on the Move session designed to showcase the range of online services available through the council website or mobile app: all of which can make day-to-day life a whole lot easier for residents of St Helens. Attendees learned that it’s not just the bin collection schedule they can find online – they can also renew their library books, research their family tree or even book a wedding.

On Thursday, Helena Partnerships took centre stage with their Action for the Blind workshop created to help people experiencing sight loss by showing how they can use technology, and a range of devices, to get online. Part of our mission in St Helens is to allow everyone to use digital technology, regardless of their circumstance, and we’ll be continuing this mission with the Royal National Institute of Blind People in the coming weeks.

The Digital Communities project will run until mid-December. There will be seminars every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and hotdesks are available every Monday and Friday. To find out more about upcoming events and how to get involved, follow #HelloStHelens or visit our website.