Scottish charities receive half a million pounds to help vulnerable get online


Lottery fund money part of UK wide push for digital empowerment

A SCOTTISH CHARITY body has received more than half a million pounds of lottery funding to help vulnerable Scots get online.

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) received investment worth PS528,219 from the Big Lottery Fund to spend on training hundreds of ‘digital champions’.

The training will be given to the staff in charities across Scotland to give them the skills to help the vulnerable people they work with. Persons in contact with digital champions through charities will be taught to use the internet and other information technology to improve their lives.

The initiative is a project of SCVO along with Digital Unite, and Citizens Online, Age UK, Ability Net and Affinity Sutton.

Fiona Hyslop MSP, secretary for culture, Europe and external affairs, said: “Getting online is more and more important to let everyone in Scotland take part in society, as well as using digital services, product and social networks.

“But nearly one in five Scots still don’t have internet access, and 16 per cent don’t have the basic skills they need to make the most of going online. These digital inequalities mirror and reinforce the social inequalities in Scotland. If we invest in digital participation, we can help those groups who are currently left outside of the digital world take part – and thereby support a better economy, better health access, and better inclusion overall.

“Getting online is more and more important to let everyone in Scotland take part in society, as well as using digital services, product and social networks.” Fiona Hyslop MSP
“To get people online takes time and investment, and this can be a huge challenge. That’s why the Scottish Government and SCVO have been working together to help people get online at a national and local level. The “One Digital” programme I’m launching today will create “Digital Champions” all over Scotland, who can help others to get online and reap the benefits – whether it’s doing the weekly shop or talking to family far away.”

Twenty six per cent of new computer users fail to develop their information technology skills without ongoing assistance. Advocates of the scheme claim that the digital champions will be able to offer support to improve such shortcomings.

Sally Dyson, Head of Digital Participation at SCVO, said: “This is an important step towards changing the lives of some of the million people in Scotland who lack the skills to get things done online. We are incredibly excited to be working with One Digital partners to help charities pass on digital skills to the people they work with on a daily basis, helping them to understand the benefits of using the internet and giving them the ongoing support they need to become more independent in a digital world.”

Scots trends in internet use have shown an increasing adaptation of the public to cutting edge technology . Scotland has traditionally lagged behind the rest of the UK in the uptake of the internet and other new information technologies.
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