Wakefield and District Housing reveals plans for digital hub

Wakefield and District Housing (WDH) has revealed plans for a new state-of-the-art digital suite offering free computer access to the public in Wakefield city centre.

The WDH Hub is in the centre of Wakefield’s shopping precinct and will open in the New Year.

It will be open to all members of the public but will also double up as a new and improved service access point for tenants.

The move emphasises WDH’s drive towards digital inclusion. Latest tenant survey figures show that almost 50 per cent of WDH tenants never access the internet, missing out on opportunities to save money, find employment and claim benefits. The Hub also supports WDH’s bid to become a paperless organisation, encouraging people to become digital by default, save money, become more streamlined and effective.

As well as fitted computer terminals, iPads, and an interactive touch screen web-window which can be accessed 24 hours a day, the WDH Hub offers free Wi-Fi for all customers. WDH’s expertly trained employees will provide support and guidance to those who want it.

Kevin Dodd, Chief Executive of WDH, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to create our first digital hub in the heart of Wakefield which will improve local businesses and help the local economy.

“Digital inclusion is absolutely vital to WDH as more and more essential services move online, including the way people claim for benefits as part of the Government’s welfare reforms which will eventually require all claimants to have an email address.

“Our research has shown that both finances and accessibility are the big barriers to people using the internet. We believe that by removing those barriers and investing in our tenants, we will be able to engage better with them, help them prepare for welfare reform, and ultimately save them money.”

Alongside the WDH Hub will be Coffee Connection, a new café  run by catering management firm Elior for commuters and shoppers to call in and grab a coffee to go, or relax and enjoy the free Wi-Fi.

Building work is now under way, with the new WDH Hub expected to open its doors in January, 2014.


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