Ci’s mission is to accelerate an inclusive digital society that is citizen-centric and trusted and our work with communities intersects with all of our other Programmes and priorities.

Our Digital Communities Programme works within communities at different levels, from digital connectivity, skills and inclusion, through engagement with rich media local content to develop citizen interaction, with the ambition that through digital activity a physical community will become stronger.

The Programme empowers the communities in which we work by setting wide agendas for inclusive, digital engagement, building on a very practical vision of ‘digital activity’ being of direct public good to individuals, families, groups and community stakeholders.

We are building exemplar digital-ready communities that are ‘living laboratories’ for test-beds for other Ci Programmes and for external partners to enhance their work within connected and digitally aware communities. The communities in which we work are also a source of real-life information, providing specific examples of digital challenges or best practice to influence wider debate, policy and Thought Leadership consultations.

In many discussions around the Digital Society the citizen is often not the prime focus, lagging behind the technology, apps, efficiency, cost-savings and transformation and Ci’s Digital Communities Programme works to shift this balance and place the individual back at the centre of the debate to understand the benefits and challenges of digital in their lives.

The Programme’s digital engagement is led by a our local community digital television channels, supported by online radio, live streaming of community events, social media platforms and a wide range of physical networks and workshops. Our rich content channels provide community-specific content to engage and interact with citizens digitally and are providing a model with national relevance, as the UK’s local, community media develops.

Engagement is also built through specific community digital projects supporting local democracy, community organisations, health and social care, education across the ages, building clusters of local businesses and incubating digital start-ups. We work to expand the community’s digital reach, influence and footprint by listening and reacting to people’s needs and use our digital platforms to hear their voices and to tell the stories of their community.

We also run a rolling Programme of Creative and Digital Media Apprentices, who work within the community producing digital content and focusing digital activity.

The first and flagship initiative of our Digital Communities Programme is Digital Corsham.

DIGITAL CORSHAM

Corsham is a southern Cotswold market town in Wiltshire, which with the surrounding villages has a population of around 30,000 people, but it is also the location of the largest digital capacity in the UK and a legacy of communication infrastructure going back at least 175 years. For the background to this capacity, please visit our web page, ‘Why Corsham?’.

Our Digital Corsham initiative is actively bringing together companies, schools, Parish and Town Councils and community organisations in the Corsham area with a combination of community-led initiatives and a number of specific and tangible projects to increase digital activity, supporting education, health, civic-engagement and enterprise.

There are multiple elements to the Digital Corsham initiative and we are working with people and groups in an agnostic, community-inspired way that builds co-operation and activity. Through the public facing digital platform of Corsham TV we offer timely, relevant, accurate and compelling video content to empower and inform the whole community of Corsham and instigating wide-ranging digital engagement.

To ensure that Digital Corsham is focused on the needs of all of the community and continually looks for new opportunities to grow its work, we formed the Digital Corsham Practitioner’s Group, made up of representatives from the Town Council, a variety of local businesses, the Community Campus, arts organisations, charities and community groups, which meets regularly to discuss a whole range of projects and possibilities for extending the initiative.

The individual elements of Digital Corsham are the building blocks for the rest of the Digital Communities Programme, providing an overall guide and roadmap for the other communities we engage with and a benchmark to adapt the Programme to every community’s specific needs and unique opportunities.

For more information on our Digital Communities Programme please email, communities@corshaminstitute.org.