Fund to help charities get more Scots online

Digital lessonweb

Dianne Webb supports Quarriers' service users get online through its Go4IT programme

Scottish charities must do more to get themselves and others online 

Susan Smith's photo

13th October 2014 by Susan Smith 0 Comments

A new £200,000 small grants fund will help Scottish charities get online and support their staff and service users to develop digital skills.

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is launching the Digital Challenge Fund to support local organisations that are helping people get online. 

SCVO says charities are missing out on opportunities to communicate and  improve services by failing to invest in digital development.

Only one in five charities are able to accept online donations, half don’t have a website at all and three-quarters are not investing in digital.

The fund will back up the newly launched Scotland-wide Digital Participation Charter, which encourages organisations to help the 30% of Scots who don’t have basic online skills.

Chris Yiu

Chris Yiu

More than a million people in Scotland lack the basic online skills needed to communicate, find information, get things done and stay safe on the web.

High profile public, private and third sector bodies have already signed up to the charter, including BT, IT firm Sopra, SCVO, the Carnegie Trust, RNIB, Nesta (formerly the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts) and Virgin Media.

Chris Yiu, director of digital Participation at SCVO, said: “More than a million people in Scotland lack the basic online skills needed to communicate, find information, get things done and stay safe on the web. We believe that everyone deserves a chance to participate, whatever their circumstances. 

“That’s why we’re building a national movement to turn things around, and why we’re delighted to be working with so many organisations who have signed up to support Scotland’s Digital Participation Charter.”

By signing up to the charter, organisations pledge to support their staff and volunteers develop basic online skills as well as support others in their community to embrace digital participation.

The Scottish Government funded Digital Challenge Fund is aimed specifically at voluntary organisations that need financial support in this area. Grants will be available from Wednesday 15 October.

Social care charity Quarriers has already signed up to the Digital Participation Charter. Its Digital Inclusion Service, Go4IT, provides support and access for individuals with a disability in using technology to enhance their lives. 

Diane Webb, digital inclusion lead at Quarriers, said: “We support individuals with physical or learning disabilities. As we take a person-centred approach the requests can range from supporting someone to email for the very first time to using technology as a voice for an individual with no verbal communication. 

“Technology knows no boundaries and touches all areas of our lives.”

To sign up to the Digital Participation Charter or apply for a Digital Challenge Fund grant visit digitalscotland.org