CatBytes is a CIC (Community Interest Company). We were formed in January 2016. At this time we were volunteers involved in a range of digital projects, such as website building for community groups, and teaching internet skills. It was decided that there would be benefits to turning this range of activities into a company which can function as a service to the local community. Hey Presto! CatBytes.
CatBytes is focussed on being a benefit to the local community, specifically the community of Lewisham. We teach internet skills, build websites, host websites, troubleshoot network problems and host clubs at our office in Ewart Community Hall. We work with community organisations, churches, Lewisham council, housing associations small businesses. Local knowledge and networking is as important to us as digital expertise.
"The Future is already here - it's just not evenly distributed" William Gibson
CatBytes' aim is to fight digital exclusion. Digital exclusion arises not only from the inability to access digital technology, but also an unwillingness to, due to fear of the internet and digital technology in general.
We focus on three groups who suffer from digital exclusion:
45% of Elderly people report that they do not use the internet out of fear of breaking something, compared with 6% of students . Through our Techy Tea Clubs we encourage elderly people to engage with the internet in an easy going, sociable environment.
Microbusinesses and community groups
There is a skills gap in internet knowledge within microbusinesses and small community organisations. . We understand the difficulties some organisations have with IT related problems, and bridge the gap through our understanding approach to website building, hosting and trouble shooting, which is delivered at low cost
People with a disability
22% of disabled adults had never used the internet in 2017. Our techy tea volunteers are able to help people with visual impairments to use services like talkback. We are just initiating a new piece of work with Lewisham Talking Newspaper to improve our understanding of techniques used by visually impaired people to use the internet.