SCVO launches new round of funding to increase digital skills in Scotland

Melanie May | 31 January 2019 | News

SCVO has launched a new round of its Digital Participation Charter Fund, which aims to help people increase their digital skills.
The Digital Participation Charter Fund provides small grants of up to £10,000 to help a range of organisations tackle poverty, social isolation and other forms of inequality in society through embedding essential digital skills development work in day-to-day activity with their service users.
Applications are open until noon on 30 April, and more information is available on the site.
Over the past five years, the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations’ (SCVO) fund, supported by the Scottish Government and BT, has provided funding to over 160 projects across Scotland, with over 16,000 people being supported to increase their essential digital skills.
In 2018, Round 6 of the Charter Fund made awards of over £220,000 to 26 organisations from across the country, which work either to support working age people to increase financial capability, employment and other economic outcomes; or support older and disabled people to reduce social isolation and loneliness.
Organisations that benefitted from this round included Big Hearts Community Trust,  Community Food Initiatives North East, which is working to develop the essential digital skills of their volunteers, staff, and food bank beneficiaries, and Atrium Homes, which has recruited a part time Digital Assistant and is currently surveying the digital skills needs of its tenants before developing and embedding regular digital skills drop in sessions, supported by newly trained digital champions, as part of their customer service support.
Craig Wilson, General Manager at Big Hearts said: 

Round 6 of the Charter Fund has opened new opportunities for our charity to support various groups affected by social isolation. Our Go Digital volunteers help older football fans go over the first step of using digital mediums, which equip them progressively with the skills and confidence to stay connected and become more engaged within their local community.”

The latest round was launched by Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy Kate Forbes at Big Hearts Community Trust in Edinburgh on 30 January.
At the event, she said:


“The Scottish Government wants as many people as possible to benefit from getting online. The Digital Participation Charter Fund plays a huge part in tackling digital exclusion and helping people to access the support they need. The funding I have announced today will continue the valuable work to reduce social isolation and loneliness and help people access employment opportunities. My thanks to SCVO and all of the organisations involved for their continued commitment to increasing digital participation.”

David McNeill, Director of Digital at SCVO, added:

“People who aren’t online and lack basic digital skills are more likely to face multiple forms of social exclusion. It is crucial that we ensure no one is left behind in our increasingly digital world. The Charter Fund has enabled community projects to help more than 16,000 people who need support to access technology and the internet, to reduce the digital divide in Scotland. We look forward to reaching more people through Round 7 and I would encourage third sector organisations to apply.”

Main image: L-R: Craig Wilson, General Manager Big Hearts; Kate Forbes MSP and David McNeill, Director of Digital at SCVO.