Mental Health


Digitally Included in Nillumbik

In 2021 the North East Health Communities partnership recognised digital exclusion as an issue impacting social inclusion. The partnership agreed to scope digital inclusion opportunities and supports in the three north east local government areas of Banyule, Darebin and Nillumbik and to share the findings.

Fourteen community organisations were identified by healthAbility within Nillumbik relevant to digital inclusion including:

  • Neighbourhood houses
  • Libraries
  • U3A
  • Service clubs and
  • Local council.

Information about availability of training and mentoring, free wifi and access to devices was obtained from their websites and in follow-up interviews with key people within these organisations. However, the work was hampered during extended COVID lockdowns when many community organisations had closed. Organisations advised the provision of digital training and mentoring has also been severely impacted by COVID lockdowns and COVID-safe practices.

The information was compiled into a staff resource for reference by workers within these organisations and circulated to each organisation for verification. A separate resource was compiled for community use, including a map showing location of training/mentoring, wifi, devices, with details provided in a table.

Feedback on the community resource was sought from older clients of healthAbility and modified to improve readability. The community resource is ready for distribution to the network of organisations within Nillumbik and for use by staff with clients of healthAbility who need support to participate in the digital world.

The process of engagement with local organisations highlighted limits on the availability of training and mentoring opportunities as well as poor wifi connections in buildings used by community groups.

It also prompted new opportunities, with a Community House offering to set up a private space for residents who need to receive services via telehealth but lack the capability or infrastructure in their own home.

In addition to disseminating the resources, next steps will include leveraging the partnerships established through the mapping process and seeking to understand what influence our agencies can have in addressing upstream determinants of digital exclusion. Addressing structural and economic barriers will further promote participation in our increasingly digital society.

Organisation: healthAbility

Resource: Get Connected Across Nillumbik

Resource: Digital Inclusion Resource for Organisational Staff - Nillumbik