Claire White and James Wilson are digital inclusion officers for Starting Point Community Learning Partnership, the community lead for the DigiKnow alliance. Chloe Day is a community organiser who runs their Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme.

Families who receive income-based free school meals are entitled to four days a week of free childcare for four weeks of the summer holidays under the HAF programme. Each session includes a nutritious lunchtime meal and an exciting programme of play and learning activities. Twenty children are attending Starting Point’s HAF programme at Woodley Methodist Church this summer. This week, we held a Digital Day with a fun stop-animation digital activity. 

Stop-animation session

To start the activity, we divided the children into small groups and provided each with a Lego kit and digital tablet. They decided where their film was going to be set and drew their backdrop on a folded white card. Then they had fun creating the Lego props and choosing Lego people to star in the film. They also created a stand to prop up the tablet they would use for the filming. 

Using the Life Lapse app, they took a series of photos on the tablet, moving the characters or props a small distance between each shot. When they played the images back through the app, they appeared to move, and the children became really animated watching the action unfold.

“When you play it, they move!”

“You’ve got to watch this”.

“It’s really cool”.

“Look – it comes to life”.

“Let’s play it again”.

“Oh no, you can see my hand – let’s do another one!” 

Affordable data to keep children online

The digital day wasn’t just designed to be fun for the children. We also aimed to raise awareness among parents of the value of digital skills and the support available with affordable data and devices. New research from Virgin Media O2 shows that 7 in 10 parents say they’ll struggle to afford to keep their kids online this summer. 

This is a staggering percentage. That is 21 young people in an average class, and it doesn’t need to be the case. Starting Point manage the DigiKnow Lending Library and a Good Things Databank. We support over 50 people every week to access free data from Virgin Media O2, Vodaphone and Three. It sounds like a catch, but it really isn’t. Just like food banks support people when they need it the most, databanks are there too. 

Nicola Wallace-Dean

COO, Starting Point

Several parents who had stayed to help, told us about their own data challenges and the solutions they’ve found. Michelle, a mother of 4, seeks out free wifi locations for her own phone and those belonging to her 15-year-old daughters, so she can manage on £10 per month of data. Joann has found a rollover data plan, which allows her to share her unused data with her children.

Although both families are coping with their data use at present, they were very interested to learn about the national databank and said that they would spread the word to other parents, adding that it was not just a holiday issue.

The school contacts us through an app now. Can you imagine them not being able to get in touch with you if your child has bumped his head?



Support for HAF providers

We’ve developed a 2hr session plan for the stop animation activity to help other HAF providers. We’ve created it so anyone with even the most basic digital skills, can pick it up, get involved and have some fun with young people and families. You’ll need a device that can take photos such as a tablet or a phone (if you need to borrow one, we can help with that) and a tub of Lego. Find out more on Starting Point’s website or contact Claire on 0161 494 9947 or by email.

To find out more about the National Databank and DigiKnow Digital Lending Library, call or text James on 0161 494 9947 or 07724 217888.

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