housing organisation

Hawthorn Housing Co-operative
Hawthorn Housing Co-operative




summary of project

The Hawthorn Housing Co-operative's Digital Inclusion Project is at early stages and currently consists of exploration of options to:

  • gain funding for and install community WiFi and the option to obtain a tablet from the Co-operative;
  • circulate all committee papers to Committee members electronically;
  • develop the use of social media to communicate with tenants; and
  • provide relevant IT training for residents.

It's also recently developed an App (Android and IOS) to support its interaction with customers

who is it aimed at?

This project is aimed at all residents (but has knock-on benefits for staff)

how is it funded?

The project is still at the stage of seeking funding for the community WiFi project, but has secured the promise of in-kind contributions in the form of training facilities from Young Possil Futures.

The community WiFi project will seek resources from a variety of funders (at this stage the funding targets are commercially sensitive).          

The App was developed with the Co-operative's own funds.

housing organisation resources provided

The Housing Co-operative is supporting this project through time allocated to one of its housing staff.

what partners are involved?

The project seeks to work in partnership with Young People's Futures, Glasgow City Council and Affinity Sutton.


The main challenges faced by this project are:

  • The costs of community WiFi are likely to be prohibitive;
  • There are no in-community training facilities, although a local project (Young People's Futures) is in walking distance;
  • The App requires promotion to its tenants;
  • As a very small organisation, the Co-operative does not possess the in-house expertise to fully explore options; and
  • Adult literacy

lessons learnt

The use of social media has largely been to inform residents of Housing Co-operative and partner services and events, and has been met with warm response by residents (e.g. "really think your page is very informative and up to present in what is going on really like reading it well done") with 100 'Likes' (there are only 316 houses);

Social media is an effective and accessible way of communicating with tenants and it complements traditional face-to-face methods we use in this very small community;

Social media can be used to engage some people that have been difficult to engage;

Flexibility is essential, the Co-op’s boardroom was used to deliver small scale, very localised training for older members of the community.  This approach was effective in engaging people and developing their confidence and technical ability to a level where they then felt willing to attend more formal training;

To be effective, social media should be used to provide information that the community wants rather than solely pass on information the RSL wants the community to know;

Don’t rely on the ‘Big Bang’ – you can make real progress on a gradual, incremental basis – even if we never achieve community WiFi we have still made progress;

It is important to try to make progress across 3 strands of – equipment, ability [training] and system – progress on one strand alone can be ineffective;

Digital inclusion can empower individuals and communities allowing them to more fully participate and effectively express their needs and aspirations;

Digital inclusion work can be an effective vehicle for addressing adult literacy,

Even without dedicated staff, determination and commitment can deliver good progress;

Social Media has been used in last resort to contact a resident about tenancy issues, which caused customer irritation but was successful in getting the customer into the office, leading to resolution.



Steven Murphy, Administrative Assistant with the Co-op steven@hawhousing.co.uk

Colin Turnbull, Director at the Co-op colin@hawhousing.co.uk





Modified 3/28/2016 by Craig Green