Investment bridges the digital divide
Today the Big Lottery Fund is launching the Basic Online Skills programme which will provide £15 million to improve the nation’s online skills. In this guest blog, Martha Lane Fox, Chair of Go ON UK, discusses the impact this investment will have upon people and organisations across the country.
Imagine your life without the web. Staggeringly, 1 in 5 UK adults, 11 million, still don’t have the Basic Online Skills to enjoy the internet’s huge and varied benefits.
They can’t send and receive email, use a search engine, browse, or complete forms online. Worryingly, a large chunk are unable to use it safely and securely. Thousands of businesses and charities are also missing out. Go ON UK, the charity I chair, is on a mission to change this.
The UK has built strong digital foundations. The UK’s digital economy accounts for over 8% of GDP – more than any other G20 country. But as the benefits accrue for those who are online, people without Basic Online Skills will only be left further behind.
As a Go ON UK Founder partner, the Big Lottery Fund is using its fantastic reach, expertise and networks to boost Basic Online Skills across UK communities. That’s why we’re delighted that its £15 million Basic Online Skills programme is now open for applications. Developed with us, it’s a vital investment with extraordinary potential to boost the skills that people and organisations across the UK need to take full advantage of online support and services.
Who can apply?
Can you support Go ON UK’s ambitious vision to make the UK the world’s most digitally skilled nation? If you’re a national organisation that can deliver innovative and engaging ways to encourage people to improve Basic Online Skills, I urge you to apply and explain how you could use between £5 million and £15 million to deliver UK wide face-to-face training and support. The Big Lottery Fund will shortly share opportunities for smaller, local organisations to work with the lead applicant to ensure we’re really reaching those most in need of support.
For more information on the funding and application process and to find out if you’re eligible please visit the Basic Online Skills programme page.