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News from Lemos&Crane

Research launch seminar: Trends and Friends

Friday 30 January 2015 saw the seminar launch of our new research into the access, use and benefits of digital technology (and the internet in particular) by homeless and ex-homeless people. The seminar was held at the LankellyChase Foundation – who supported the project – and saw practitioners from across the homelessness sector meet to hear and discuss the research findings and next steps.

You can read more about the research – and download the report – here.

Gerard Lemos presented the research findings before Jeremy Swain, Chief Executive of Thames Reach, who our partners on the project, provided his response. Jeremy also discussed Thames Reach’s experience of bringing digital technology to the lives of their service users, through partnerships with other organisations, buddying systems, staff engagement and volunteers.

Julian Corner, who led the seminar, offered the opportunity for those present to discuss among themselves the extent to which the research findings resonated with their experience, and their immediate responses. Many felt that the findings chimed with their own experience – especially around ease of access of digital technology, and the manner in which people most often used it – in other areas of their lives, but not to access or engage with services.

Discussion in the room focussed on the development of the project and considering the current perceived barriers to incorporating digital technology into service provision – both in terms of providing access and making use of technology to remain in contact with service users. These were predominately perceived to be cultural and social in the first instance, rather than financial and practical. It was discussed for example whether reluctance and anxiety to provide ubiquitous access to the internet at services tapped into wider issues concerning the perception and management of risk. This in turn led to a discussion of more fundamental questions about the relationship between provider and client in the homelessness sector. How use of digital technology by homeless and vulnerable people might impact upon stereotypes and stigma around homelessness was also considered, as well as the relevance of digital technology for issues of loneliness, isolation and estrangement.

Finally, the practical next steps of the work were discussed. The report recommends a full system approach to improving access and use of digital technology and the means by which this might be achieved were presented and discussed. The event was a valuable opportunity to hear frontline practitioners’ responses to the work, and to lay the groundwork for the implementation stage of the project.

You can read more about the research and download the report here.

If you have any feedback or would like more information about the work please contact Sarah.

 

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