Funding boost for digital skills initiative

Digital fund announcement

The Digital Participation Charter Fund is set to provide further support to organisations which tackle inequality

28th March 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A fund which helps tackle digital exclusion in Scotland has been extended.

Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop was at The Welcoming in Edinburgh this morning (Wednesday) where she announced that a further £200,000 will be invested in the Digital Participation Charter Fund

The fund supports the work of the Digital Participation Charter - a group of organisations which use their expertise to help people in the community, and their own workforce, to gain digital skills.

The fund – which is administered by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) - was launched in 2014 and since then has helped provide training in computer skills for people across Scotland.

It provides small grants (typically up to £10,000) to help a range of organisations tackle poverty, social isolation and other forms of inequality in society through embedding basic digital skills development work in day-to-day activity with their service users.

SCVO director of digital David McNeill said: “The charter fund has enabled community projects to assist over 15,000 people to improve their job prospects or reduce social isolation by developing basic digital skills.

“We are grateful for the continued support of the Scottish Government to increase digital participation, ensuring the benefits of the internet are available to everyone – and with £200,000 available in round six of the fund, we’re encouraging third sector organisations to apply."

Hyslop said: “The Scottish Government is committed to increasing digital participation and ensuring that everyone gets the opportunity to enjoy the social, cultural and economic benefits digital skills can bring. “

The minister met those who have benefitted from the fund at The Welcoming, attending a business breakfast with people who are looking to boost their skills and meeting Syrian refugees who attend weekly computer classes.

The announcement coincided with Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) becoming the 500th signatory of the charter.

CAS trustee Karen Nailen said the organisation is looking to provide improved digital support to the people that it helps every day.

“The CAB network can play an important role in supporting digital participation,” she said. “We have a national reach: with almost 300 locations across Scotland, we help one in 14 adults every year - 34% of which have limited or no access to the internet.

 “We also have over 3,000 staff and volunteers and we want to ensure those individuals have the skills and confidence to support clients to get online.”