Stretchlab at the Mustard Tree

Finalist category: Digital Skills Award


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Digital Skills Award, Finalist, 2018

Inspiring digital story-telling to build confidence and create community cohesion.

Stretch charity has been working with a homeless charity called The Mustard Tree. Together they work with groups of homeless, refugee and dispossessed people who have little access to technology. They use iPads and encourage people to make a digital story, learning applications and digital skills as they go.

The stories start a dialogue and conversation between communities and have been a useful tool to hear authentic voices and build community cohesion. The Mustard Tree has now given Stretch permanent home in their new building and ‘stretch lab’ is a drop in centre with iPads and computers and one of our trained digital story facilitators

The programme teaches digital skills to people who have little access to technology. Through the storytelling process people are given a platform to build their confidence levels and, more importantly, to tell their story. The digital stories are then shown to other communities and published on the charity’s website – this helps bring understanding to people in difficult situations.

The digital stories they tell are totally inspiring and provide an insight into other people’s lives and worlds. Sharing the stories helps us all to understand other people.

Stretch uses a mix technology with more traditional arts, so people can use paintings, poetry and music in their digital stories. People are scared of using iPads and apps but Stretch likes to think they inspire people to have a go and break down some barriers.

Kelly’s story: Between a Rock and Hard Place

Stretch would really like to set up a ‘stretch lab’ in other homeless hostels that they work with and encourage people to use the technology creatively – it doesn’t have to be all about back-to-work programmes and writing CV’s – there are fun and artistic ways to use technology that can be creative and liberating.

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