Digital inclusion charity receives £500k to upskill workers amid COVID

The Good Things Foundation has received £500,000 in National Lottery Funding to upskill 4,000 people and help support communities through COVID-19.

The charity, which focuses on social and digital inclusion projects, will use the cash to equip and upskill vulnerable and disadvantaged people in England whose quality of life has been made harder during the pandemic through digital exclusion.

Digital exclusion is defined as not having the access, skills and confidence to use the internet safely, which has become an issue for those in precarious work and who are medically vulnerable during the crisis.

ONS figures showed that 2.2 million people who were advised to shield to protect themselves from the virus during the lockdown period, with a lack of appropriate digital devices and internet connectivity putting them more at risk of social isolation, loneliness, depression, anxiety and stress.

By December, the funding from The National Lottery Community Fund will have been used to acquire appropriate devices and connectivity (through SIMs or mobile dongles) and cover the cost of setting up the device. It will also be used to support people to get online and build their digital skills.

Good Things works with Network partners in communities across the UK. Since the start of the pandemic, community partners have seen a huge surge in demand for support with digital access, affordability and skills.

Good Things Foundation chief executive Helen Milner said: “We want to make sure that everyone - especially those most vulnerable in this pandemic - has the digital access, skills and support they need in these difficult times.

"Digital has been a lifeline for many of us in lockdown - thanks to National Lottery, we will be able to purchase devices and data packages so that our community partners can extend this lifeline to those who need it most.”

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