Digital Discovery, a campaign aiming to create more awareness and understanding of online accessibility launches today (Thursday 3 December) - which is also the International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPWD). Chelmsford City Council is asking local organisations to join them in pledging to increase digital accessibility and work towards ‘not leaving anyone behind’.
Once businesses take the Digital Discovery pledge, they will be signed up to receive a range of resources and advice from the City Council on how to improve their online accessibility, especially for people with a disability. The support will lead up to a Digital Discovery Day to be held on Tuesday 9 February, tying in with International Safer Internet Day.
Each year, the City Council recognises and celebrates the IDPWD with the Discovery Festival, an event that has run for the past 8 years, working with local organisations to raise awareness of the challenges that people with disabilities face in day-to-day life and working towards making Chelmsford a more inclusive place to live and work.
This year, whilst coronavirus has halted holding a physical event, it has also highlighted the increased importance of using digital resources to stay connected. We have relied heavily on the internet whilst staying home and we must ensure these online tools are accessible for all that need them.
Many everyday activities have moved to a solely digital platform: from online shopping and banking, to meetings, doctors’ appointments and virtual events, to name a few. Digital Discovery is reminding people to stop and think about how these digital activities may not always be accessible to those living with disability and what can be done to improve this. The City Council is asking organisations to take a pledge to leave no-one behind and create an inclusive online community in Chelmsford.
Councillor Marie Goldman, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Connected Chelmsford, says, “With everything that has happened this year, the Digital Discovery campaign marks a natural transition from the physical Discovery Festival event to an online focus. Many of us have had to get to grips with video calls and working from home, but as a nation, have we really stopped and thought about how digital activities that are now so commonplace may not always be accessible to those living with disability?
“It’s incredibly important that we recognise the International Day of People with Disabilities; we must listen to people’s concerns and pledge to make changes to do things better and make sure everyone feels included. We have a responsibility to make sure the information we put out is accessible.
“At Chelmsford City Council, we’re continually learning ways we can be more accessible and have had to adapt quickly to a changing environment. Digital Discovery is an opportunity for us to pledge towards continuing with online accessibility best practice and we ask our fellow local organisations to take the pledge with us.”
To take the Digital Discovery pledge and find out more about getting involved, visit: www.chelmsford.gov.uk/digitaldiscovery. Any organisations which run suitable initiatives or offer support, advice or training on digital inclusion that would like to get involved are invited to get in touch.