BIG LOTTERY FUNDING TO BUILD SKILLS AND BRIDGE THE DIGITAL DIVIDE

The Big Lottery Fund has today announced funding for two test and learninitiatives to open up access to health, welfare and employment services by improving digital skills.

Around 10.5 million people in the UK lack the skills to access many key online services*. In addition, around half of disabled people and 42 per cent of people with an income of less than £12,500 a year, do not use the internet**. These groups are finding themselves becoming increasingly reliant on friends and family to access services that are moving to digital channels.

To tackle this, the Big Lottery Fund is supporting pilot initiatives led by Tinder Foundation and Digital Unite with £450,000 funding.

Family Fund, along with Tinder Foundation, Mind and Homeless Link will be working in partnership to form the Reboot UK project providing support for three main target groups – homeless people, families in poverty and people with mental health problems. The Reboot UK project has been awarded £329.958 to rebuild the lives of the three vulnerable target groups through personalised digital skills training and community-based support, enabling them to be more in charge of their own lives.

A test and learn model will be implemented from September across various locations throughout the UK to support an initial 1,200 people and gather evidence of how improved digital skills can improve their health and wellbeing. The hope is that once the 12 month test period is over the model can be up-scaled and have a wider significant impact.

Tinder Foundation Chief Executive Helen Milner said: "This funding from the Big Lottery Fund will have a real impact on individuals and groups who could benefit significantly from digital skills, but conversely are the least likely to have them. By working closely with our strong consortium of partners - Family Fund, Homeless Link and Mind - and implementing a test and learn model, we'll be able to provide targeted help to individuals in poverty to really help them improve their health and wellbeing, as well as creating a model that can have a significant impact when scaled."

Family Fund Chief Executive Cheryl Ward said: “We are very proud to be working as part of the Reboot UK consortium to provide vulnerable families with skills that will increase independence and improve their health and wellbeing. Our experience awarding grants for computers and tablets has demonstrated the profound impact that technology and digital skills can have on the lives of families raising disabled or seriously ill children. We believe these are vital tools for disabled children and their families that can improve their communication, inclusion or provide new learning opportunities that may have been denied to them by conventional social means.”

Today’s announcement follows a major award in July 2014 when the Big Lottery Fund awarded £5.8 million to the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to engage with a million people and raise their awareness of the range of equipment and programmes that can help to make technology accessible to people with sight or hearing loss. The grant came from the Fund’s Basic Online Skills funding programme which was developed as part of their commitment as a board partner of digital skills charity Go ON UK which aims to make the UK the world’s most digitally skilled nation.

Baroness Martha Lane Fox, Chair of Go ON UK, said: “It is wonderful to see more funding announced that will help the 10.5 million UK adults who lack basic digital skills. It doesn’t matter what walk of life you are from, there will be ways that you can benefit from embracing digital skills. This funding will make a real difference to the groups who are most in need of it.”

ENDS

Notes

*10.5 million people in the UK lack the skills to access many key online services. BBC Basic Digital Skills 2014.

**49 per cent of disabled people and 42 per cent of people with a household income of less than £12,500 a year, do not use the internet. Oxford Internet Survey 2013.

  1. The Family Fund is the country’s largest grant-giving charity and has over forty years of helping families with disabled children. It helps ease the additional pressures faced by low-income families raising a disabled child by giving them grants for a wide range of goods and services, including washing machines, dryers, fridges, clothing, bedding, sensory toys, computers, much- needed family breaks and more. Across the UK last year, the Fund supported over 69,000 families.
  2. Family Fund works hard to ensure that all funding received reaches as many families as possible across the UK. Last year, more than 94 pence in every £1 received went to a family in grants and services.
  3. Family Fund grant applications can be downloaded from the Family Fund website www.familyfund.org.uk Families can contact Family Fund using the online contact form or by telephoning: 01904 621115. Join the conversation at www.facebook.com/familyfund and www.twitter.com/familyfund

All press enquiries, contact Andy Simpson on 01904 571 018 or email comms@familyfund.org.uk

Andy Simpson, Buisness Development Director
Family Fund, 4 Alpha Court, Monks Cross Drive, Huntington, York, YO32 9WN

Tel: 01904 571018 email: comms@familyfund.org.uk

The Family Fund is the country’s largest grant-giving charity and has over forty years of helping families with disabled children. It helps ease the additional pressures faced by low-income families raising a disabled child by giving them grants for a wide range of goods and services, including washing machines, dryers, fridges, clothing, bedding, sensory toys, computers, much- needed family breaks and more. Across the UK last year, the Fund supported over 69,000 families.

About Us

The Family Fund is one of the UK’s largest grant-giving charities which, for forty years, have helped families raising disabled or seriously ill children or young people. It helps ease the additional pressures faced by low-income families raising a disabled child by giving them grants for a wide range of goods and services, including washing machines, dryers, fridges, clothing, bedding, sensory toys, computers, much-needed family breaks and more, but also give grants for items to aide a better night’s sleep such as beds, bedding, sleep monitors and blackout blinds. Across the UK last year, the Fund supported 64,020 families with £33 million in funding, 5,000 more than the previous year. Family Fund receives grants from private donors as well as each of the four UK governments.