Fund allows groups to tackle digital exclusion

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The latest round of the Digital Participation Charter Fund will support 17 organisations from across Scotland

7th November 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Third sector groups around Scotland have received a funding boost for the fight against digital exclusion.

Almost 150 projects across Scotland have benefitted from the Digital Participation Charter Fund, which aims to get people online and develop basic digital skills.

This week, round five of the fund – managed by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) and supported by the Scottish Government and BT – made awards of over £145,000 to 17 organisations.

Camphill Blair Drummond is among the successful applicants and will put the money towards its Go Learning Zone, which will provide a dedicated space for all members of the community to be able to increase their digital skills through regular workshops and other activities.

“We have just upgraded our broadband, we are in quite a rural location so getting 3G, 4G, or indeed any G internet has been a bit of an issue,” said Angela Flaws, learning and development leader.

“We had problems getting ourselves up to speed, but we now have the ability to setup a room that the day students and residents can use.

“Some of our day students have access to wi-fi at home and some of them have responded really well to using iPads, Wiis and other types of technology.

“The residents here have had very limited access and the new facility will expand on what we provide digitally.”

Motherwell based social enterprise LAMH Recycle will use the funding for its Digital Skills for the Future project, which aims to help reduce isolation and poverty locally by supporting people in Lanarkshire to get online, increase their digital capabilities and improve their employment prospects.

Chief executive Anita Boyle said: “This funding will make a vital difference to people in our community who are struggling to see the benefits of the digital world. 

“Thanks to this grant, we will be able to support more people to develop the confidence and skills to interact safely online, increase their digital capability, become savvy online shoppers and improve their employment prospects.”

Other successful applicants include Citizens Advice and Rights Fife and One Parent Families Scotland.

Scotland is already a digital nation, with eight in ten households having an internet connection, and six in 10 people utilising smartphones. However research conducted by earlier this year showed that around 21% of adults in Scotland still do not have basic digital skills.

SCVO digital director David McNeill said: “With the ubiquity of smartphones and the central role the internet plays in most of our lives, it’s perhaps all too easy to forget the significant minority who do not have digital confidence, skills or access.

“Those being left behind are likely to face other challenges, such as unemployment, and therefore end up being doubly disadvantaged.”