Urban Case Study #6: Reducing the digital divide through face-to-face digital centres - Heslingborg, Sweden

The challenge

According to data, 169 million EU citizens lack (even basic) digital skills.

Lack of access to digital services and awareness of digital possibilities has a significant impact on the digital divide, resulting in a social divide. Digital transformation should promote the participation of everyone, in all aspects of society.

In the framework of the Urban Agenda for the EU, the Digital Transition Partnership is dedicated to tackling this challenge under its Action 2: the Digital Neighbourhood Instrument”.

The Digital Neighbourhood Instrument establishes access points where people can get support and training for digital services. The access points are situated in places where people usually meet to ensure universal and non-discriminatory access.

The pilot cities are Helsingborg (Sweden), Oulu (Finland), and Sofia (Bulgaria).

The Face-to-Face (F2F) approach in Helsingborg

The digital centre in Helsingborg creates a space where people with no digital skills can turn to for help. The Helsingborg model, in Sweden, is focused firstly on offering support with the use of personal devices.

When visitors come for help, a staff member supports them with their daily tasks and issues so that they learn by doing and gain independence.

Every week, the Digital Staff also takes part in an outreach programme in which they visit senior centres, community centres and local library branches. The staff helps the visitors there with any questions related to their smartphones/tablets as well as anything else they may have questions about.

Through events with other organisations and pop-up operations, the Digital Center also explores different technologies and aspect of tech with visitors.

The goal always remains the same: support visitors with any digital query and help them navigate the world of technology.

If you are interested in how to set up a digital centre following the Helsingborg model or discovering the Sofia one, have a look at the Digital Instrument Booklet. The document, initiated by the Digital Transition Partnership, provides a toolbox helpful in how to establish such initiatives. 

More Information

About Action 2 and the Digital Instrument Booklet 

About the Partnership on Digital Transition

About the Partnership's Action Plan