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Our Social Impact: Digital Spring Clean

Discover our Social Impact! Here's a Case Study from our 2021 Social Impact Report.

Did you know that storing and sending emails, storing files and browsing the internet produces CO2? There’s still much debate over just how much CO2 our digital footprint creates, but everyone seems to agree that it’s much smaller than the one produced by a paper trail. So while sending an email is better for the environment than posting a letter, every single one of us can make an impact and reduce our own carbon footprints with a regular digital clean up.

The Positive People Somerset team here at Cosmic delivered some fantastic Digital Spring Cleaning workshops during June 2021, which covered topics from cleaning up your email inbox, to personalising your device, controlling app permissions, file management, and using the cloud. These workshops were the first of their kind here at Cosmic and the team worked incredibly hard to create content which was engaging, interesting and most importantly of all, useful!

Whilst these workshops have been a brilliant way for everyone involved to unsubscribe from some of those annoying newsletters and to finally get round to moving files out of their downloads folder (cutting down on a huge chunk of their digital carbon footprint!), the aim is also to build digital confidence. Helping people to feel empowered and in control of the technology around them can really give them the confidence to try something new, such as video calling a loved one, or switching to mobile banking. We want to support our participants in feeling like their technology is an asset, not a burden.

Using Zoom to deliver training like our Digital Spring Clean gives our participants the opportunity to practise some of their digital skills in real time, but can also allow people to take part in training with as much or as little group interaction as they feel comfortable with. We received some fantastic feedback from our participants, with some lovely comments about our trainers and the content that was delivered. Bridget, who is one of our participants, told us that she enjoyed being able to ‘listen, watch and learn without being made to interact if not up to it’.

We asked Chloe, who heads up the Positive People Somerset training team, what her thoughts were after running these workshops:

"Knowing how to look after, personalise and manage your device is such an important part of getting confident with digital. Instruction manuals are helpful, but you can really see the benefit that live demos, and simple breakdowns give to our participants. It's always lovely to see the group coming together for workshops, chatting with one another, and learning from each other's questions too."

"We’re absolutely delighted that these sessions were so well received and I certainly picked up some very useful tips from the trainers which I've already put to good use. I deleted a whopping 2,300 emails from my personal account which I’d been avoiding dealing with and I finally moved all my photos from my device to the cloud, freeing up 9.2GB of space! For me, a digital spring clean was very much needed and we would encourage everyone to give it a try – delete those old emails you know you’ll never need, create a filing system to keep your documents under control, empty that downloads folder! Just think of all the space you’ll free up and the added bonus is that you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint as you go!"

Positive People is funded by The European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund and offers a lifeline to people who are not in work to help build confidence, skills and give a sense of hope for the future. Cosmic's role is to increase digital inclusion throughout the project, helping people develop new skills and confidence with technology.

Find out more about Positive People Somerset here and Positive People Devon here.