Annual report 2010

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Working with the community

Learn about Digital UKs partnership with the charity sector and how it supports viewers

Interviews

Show transcript

The important thing about switchover is that although its a national programme, it looks like a local programme to the viewer. It only affects you when your transmitter or your television region switches over. We decided that from the outset the best way to communicate this would be to put a local and regional focus on everything that we do. To that end weve recruited five regional teams in the first few months; I think weve now got seven regional teams. Weve already seen five of those television regions switch over; Wales is the first digital nation. In each and every case, the spearheading of local publicity and representation has been by Digital UKs regional manager and his or her team.

Most people get through switchover really very easily but a minority of people are potentially vulnerable, they do need an extra little bit of help. There is a Help Scheme for those who are 75 or over or on a range of disability benefits but that doesnt cover everyone and the special contribution made by our partnership with the charities is to bridge the gap between the Switchover Help Scheme and the wider community. So what does it do? It provides a little bit of extra information and advice. That might be in the form of public meetings, drop-ins or advice points; it provides a little bit of re-assurance. From time to time it might even provide an extra little bit of practical help as well. But this is where the charities make the difference.

I think theres an awful lot to learn from the way that weve delivered a national programme locally. By community outreach weve taken many more people with us through the switchover process than we would have done if wed tried to do it all from the centre; in rather, an effective but perhaps sometimes impersonal campaign, of advertising and leaflets. The benefits of this are most obviously shown by the work of the charities. Nobody does it better than the charities, nobody reaches deeper into the local communities than the charities and as I look ahead, I can see other campaigns to come, perhaps and most obviously one like digital inclusion, the desire to see many more people benefiting from participation and use of the internet; I can see campaigns like that benefiting enormously from local engagement by local charities, local staff and local volunteers.

Be prepared: Scouts in the West Country pledge to help others through switchover to earn their Digit Al badge

Working with the community

Our regional teams are vital to the successful delivery of every switchover. Their local knowledge and community contacts provide the foundation for a range of activities which help prepare viewers for the day when analogue TV signals being switched off.

'Together, we have trained and mobilised an army of helpers who lend a hand to some of the most potentially vulnerable viewers.'

While our teams are relatively small, they are supported by a network of local organisations and volunteers, recruited through a unique partnership with some of the UK's leading charities. Together, we have trained and mobilised an army of helpers who lend a hand to some of the most potentially vulnerable viewers in the months running up to each switchover. To date, around 200,000 people have received extra support and advice through a wide range of activities - from local community events and lunch clubs to one-to-one meetings and home visits.

During switchover in the North West, Digital UK established a £400,000 outreach programme with the third sector, led by Age
Concern. Around 1,800 charity organisations were contacted, leading to more than 1,100 trained volunteers and 1,400 information events. These provided information and support to around 75,000 people during the campaign, and thirty-six advice points were also set up on both days of switchover.

Building on a proven track record and working together with the Switchover Help Scheme, the outreach programme will now be extended across all remaining TV regions.