Digital skills to prevent digital exclusion

Digital skills to prevent digital exclusion

The digital skills charity Go ON UK, chaired by Martha Lane Fox, today unveiled plans to run a 12-month pilot programme in Lewisham to test, learn and share new ways to help local people and businesses get the Basic Digital Skills they need to survive in our evolving digital age.

Go ON Lewisham is the second London borough project planned by the charity to show how local residents and businesses can improve their digital skills, following the successful launch of Go ON Croydon pilot in 2015.

  • 67,500 adults in Lewisham do not have the five Basic Digital Skills needed to succeed in our evolving digital age
  • 22% of small businesses in Lewisham do not feel confident using the internet
  • Go ON Lewisham initiative will be supported by Go ON Local Beta – an online community toolkit and collaborative platform – to help local policy-makers, organisations and communities tackle digital exclusion in the borough

There are over 130 languages spoken by the different communities across Lewisham, and there is a rich range of heritage and cultural diversity amongst its communities. The latest figures from London’s Poverty Profile 2015 place Lewisham in the bottom eight boroughs overall. It is amongst the four lowest ranked boroughs for education and benefits dependency.

Rachel Neaman, CEO, Go ON UK, said: “Digital exclusion is a complex issue. There is no single reason why people are digitally excluded and, as our recently launched Digital Exclusion Heatmap shows, we need to consider a combination of factors in our efforts to ensure everyone in Lewisham has the Basic Digital Skills they need”.

“Whilst Lewisham is a relatively affordable place to rent, compared to other inner London boroughs, low pay and particularly education are a problem in the borough. With a diverse population representative of many of the groups most at risk of digital exclusion, Lewisham was a clear choice for the pilot”.

Go ON UK will work closely with its Board partners, such as Lloyds Bank, alongside Lewisham Council and other local organisations such as Age UK Lewisham and Southwark, disability groups, faith groups and wider community groups as well as local voluntary and community partners to help improve levels of Basic Digital Skills on the ground.

The charity will also run a number of exciting projects with partners to trial new, engaging and innovative ways of helping Lewisham residents make the most of the internet. These projects will target specific groups such as the financially excluded as well as local Lewisham housing estates, small and micro businesses, young people not in employment, education or training (NEETS) and individuals with disabilities.

Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, said: “Basic digital skills are like money and electricity – you can’t participate fully in modern life without them. Whether it’s saving money on your bills, finding and applying for jobs or getting the best shopping deals, without basic digital skills you are seriously disadvantaged”.

As part of the project, Lloyds Bank town centre branches will be offering digital zones to enable Lewisham residents to benefit from all of the opportunities that digital can bring.

Edward Thurman, Lloyds Banking Group Regional Ambassador for London said: “An example of one of the projects we are supporting is our partnership with Accenture and the Seetec Digital Skills Academy where we have created a programme specifically for the area to match small businesses that lack Basic Digital Skills with trained young people who aren’t currently in employment, education or training”.

“We are also proud to be sponsoring MyBnk, an initiative aimed at delivering financial skills training to young people across the Borough. On the high street, we are setting up a DigiZone in our Lloyds Bank branch in Lewisham that will offer a drop in service for people to find out more about the benefits of being online and gain support to develop their Basic Digital Skills”.

Go ON Lewisham will also be testing whether saving time and money online are genuine motivators that will inspire people to learn Basic Digital Skills.

To find out where you can go to get online, just ask at your local Post Office, or call 0800 77 1234.

Visit www.go-on.co.uk to find out more about how you can get involved in your local area and join Go ON Local Beta to help people and organisations get the Basic Digital Skills they need.

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