Learning Disability Week: Digital Inclusion

Monday 6th to Friday the 10th of May 2024 is Scottish Learning Disability Week.

This year’s theme is digital inclusion.

What does “Digital Inclusion” mean?

‘Digital’ can mean a lot of things including:

  • Activities that happen online, on the internet.
  • Technology that we use to access the internet such as smart phones, tablets, 
    and computers.
  • Websites or apps that we use to communicate online such as Facebook or Zoom.

‘Inclusion’ means ensuring everyone is included and able to access/take part in something.

Digital Inclusion is when everyone can get online safely and access digital technology

In recent times, more and more things are moving online and becoming digital. This is great because it helps us to communicate and do new things. However, digital activity can also sometimes be complicated, confusing and potentially risky for some individuals.

Sometimes people with a learning disability can find it difficult to gain access and be able to understand how to use some digital resources. It is important people with a learning disability are supported and empowered to explore the digital world, if they want to.



How do Dates-n-Mates support our members with digital?

Virtual events

Throughout the 2020-2021 lockdowns, we began running virtual events via Zoom. This was something that was very new to members and to our staff. We supported members via phone calls and email to help get them set up so they could stay connected with one another while our usual events could not run.

On occasion, we still run a few virtual events alongside our programme of social events across Scotland.

Some virtual events we have hosted includes: karaoke, discos, cook-a-long, danceathon, quizzes, chats and workshops. We have also been joined by other organisations such as SCLD, British Institute of Human Rights and Four Pillars to chat with our members online about important topics.

This has allowed our members to gain new skills in using online video calls. 

Digital skills workshops

Dates-n-Mates also run workshops with our members centred around digital skills such as internet safety, how to avoid scams and use of social media.

Some of our internet safety workshops include a test around how easily someone can hack into you accounts based on your passwords. Members were surprised how easy this could be for scammers and found the sessions informative and very useful.

Listen to our Director’s podcast on avoiding scams.

Social Media

We use social media, mainly Facebook, to interact and communicate with some of our members. We have also provided support and guidance around appropriate and safe use of social media when interacting with others. 

Digital support at events

Digital skills are required during in person events and activities more regularly these days, as many services move online. 

We support our members with ordering food via an app at event or sharing photos from events to social media etc.

In our Stirling branch, members were introduced to the local Bingo, at their request, and supported to sign in and use the tablets for around 6 months, then staff stopped hosting as members didn’t need us there anymore. They now regularly attend, independently, and play with digital bingo cards. This is something they had been interested in and after our support were able to access this digital game.

Dates-n-Mates Scotland

Dates-n-Mates is Scotland’s national dating and friendship charity run by and for adults with learning disabilities.

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Melisa House (suite 2a)
Brand Place,
Glasgow G51 1DR

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Dates-n-Mates Direct 

Friendly conversations with direct experiences and opinions from people with learning disabilities brought to you by Dates-n-Mates Directors.

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