all constructive criticism of this site and its contents as well as information about other case studies we could publish would be welcomed

- please send any such to

This toolkit has been developed with funding from

Digital Scotland

for whose support the Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations is grateful.

introduction to the toolkit

The Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations, in the context of the Digital Participation work stream of the Digital Glasgow programme and with the support of Digital Scotland have developed with Glasgow Kelvin College this resource to support housing organisations to address the challenge of building successful digital participation projects.

Housing organisations, along with most others, face significant challenges in developing their communication with customers who are increasingly adopting digital technologies in personal and working lives, and keeping up with and anticipating these changes needs support and partnership. 

Even were housing organisations to be able to keep up effortlessly with the technical changes driving communication in 2016, they would still face the challenge of uneven access and skills among their customer base, rendering any decision to use a particular technical solution set problematic.

Further, the wider role of housing associations in supporting inclusive community development requires that customers are supported to access and basic skills development relating to digital communication.

The Scottish Government’s ambitions for a Fairer Scotland rest partly on support for digital inclusion, because full participation in modern civic life requires digital participation.

This toolkit is intended as a starting point for housing organisations wishing to support digital inclusion for their customers and their communities.  It won't provide all the answers, because even where such a comprehensive resource possible for any one circumstance, all communities are different and even were one size to fit all, the environment changes almost as fast as does digital technology.

The toolkit is intended to provide a resource in which some of the main issues are considered - the national context and ambition, barriers to inclusion, skills development approaches, how to support volunteers, the role of digital housing services.  It provides case study information about ongoing digital inclusion projects associated with housing organisations and, most importantly, contact information for people associated with these projects.

The toolkit has been shaped by a steering group of interested staff from a variety of housing organisations which are members of the Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations.  What's recognised first and foremost by the steering group is that the key to success in building successful digital inclusion projects is to start from the lessons of others. 

This resource will not provide all the answers, but seeks to provide routes to gaining them, built on the lessons learned from successful projects and the challenges which remain.  It provides links to further information, sample strategy documents and key partner organisations which can support development. All of those involved, and especially those who've contributed case study information, have committed to making time available to talk to anyone interested in learning from their experience, understanding that through such conversations both parties benefit, the lessons of experience are learnt on all sides and better approaches are built  for the future.

Many of the members of Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations, like Glasgow Kelvin College, are signatories to Scotland’s Digital Participation Charter, committing themselves to:

  • Ensuring that all of our staff and volunteers have an opportunity to learn basic digital skills, and that they take advantage of this opportunity;
  • Encouraging and supporting our staff and volunteers to help other people learn basic digital skills, and help other organisations to embrace digital tools;
  • Contributing resources and practical support for digital participation initiatives in Scotland in whatever ways we can;
  • Channelling our efforts through the Digital Participation Programme, so that our activities can be coordinated for maximum impact and measured consistently; and
  • Using common language based on digital participation and basic digital skills, to make our thinking and actions as clear as possible.

This resource has been developed in the context of these commitments and is intended to support not just housing organisations, but other public and voluntary sector services supporting local communities to develop knowledge and understanding of approaches to building successful digital participation projects.


Gary Harkins, Head of Community and Information Services, Glasgow Kelvin College

March 2016

Modified 2/15/2021 by GWSF Admininistrator