Digital skills funding expanded

Craig wilson kate forbes msp and david mcneill

Craig Wilson; Kate Forbes MSP and David McNeill

Organisations are being invited to apply for the latest round of the Digital Participation Charter Fund

30th January 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Funding to get the community online and develop essential digital skills has been expanded.

Organisations from across Scotland are being invited to apply for grants of up to £10,000 from the Digital Participation Charter Fund.

The fund provides support to help a range of organisations tackle poverty, social isolation and other forms of inequality in society through embedding essential digital skills development work in day-to-day activity with their service users.

Over the past five years, the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations’ (SCVO)  led fund - supported by the Scottish Government and BT - has provided funding to over 160 projects across Scotland, with more than 16,000 people being supported to increase their essential digital skills.

The latest round was announced by Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy Kate Forbes at Big Hearts Community Trust in Edinburgh today (Wednesday 30 January).

Forbes said: “The Scottish Government wants as many people as possible to benefit from getting online. The Digital Participation Charter Fund plays a huge part in tackling digital exclusion and helping people to access the support they need.

“The funding I have announced today will continue the valuable work to reduce social isolation and loneliness and help people access employment opportunities. My thanks to SCVO and all of the organisations involved for their continued commitment to increasing digital participation.”

Craig Wilson, general manager at Big Hearts, said: "Round Six of the Charter Fund has opened new opportunities for our charity to support various groups affected by social isolation. Our Go Digital volunteers help older football fans go over the first step of using digital mediums, which equip them progressively with the skills and confidence to stay connected and become more engaged within their local community."

Organisations to have benefitted from the £220,000 previous round of funding also included Atrium Homes, Deafblind Scotland and Community Initiatives North East.

David McNeill, director of digital at SCVO, said: “People who aren’t online and lack basic digital skills are more likely to face multiple forms of social exclusion. It is crucial that we ensure no one is left behind in our increasingly digital world.

The Charter Fund has enabled community projects to help more than 16,000 people who need support to access technology and the internet, to reduce the digital divide in Scotland. We look forward to reaching more people through Round Seven and I would encourage third sector organisations to apply.”