Today (28 March) The Welcoming hosted the formal launch by Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop of a further £200,000 to support Digital Participation Charter Fund projects.

We say it over and over but forgive me the opportunity of saying it again – getting people online and developing the basic digital skills of our communities really is key to tackling inequalities and building a fairer and more just Scotland.

Scotland’s Digital Participation Charter galvanises organisations from all sectors across Scotland to support individuals with some of the highest levels of need to benefit from the internet. The Fund contributes to supporting hyperlocal activity and helping to develop a more thorough understanding of ‘what works’ in the development of basic digital skills.

The sixth round of the Digital Participation Charter Fund will again focus on two specific themes:

  • supporting working age people to increase financial capability, employment and other economic outcomes
  • supporting older and disabled people to reduce social isolation and loneliness.

We are looking to support organisations working to tackle poverty, social isolation and other forms of inequality their clients face by embedding basic digital skills into their day-to-day activity. Our successful organisations will be funded to take this approach and run with it through their funded projects, spending time working with their staff and volunteers as well as their clients, and investing in transformational digital change across all of their operations.

Now you may well be thinking “that sounds great, but what does that mean in practice?” Well, for some it could be undertaking a basic digital skills audit of the whole organisation and putting into place the necessary training plans to bring staff and volunteers up to speed to ensure they are best placed to support clients. For others it could be creatively bringing digital into more traditional class environments – the use of YouTube for cooking classes, Google searches for knitting patterns or crafting ideas, or building in social networking/Skype to help projects tackling loneliness.

SCVO Digital can support your activity at every turn, tapping into our team “hive mind” for support and referring to other projects such as the brilliant One Digital to give you additional support, training and guidance. The opportunities really are endless and once you’ve got a handle on the pathway to embedding digital skills that makes the most sense for your organisation you really will be ready to fly without us there to hold your hand any longer.

As with previous rounds, all applicants must be signed up to Scotland’s Digital Participation Charter before submitting their application. Meeting your pledge is easy for Charter Fund projects – by receiving support from us to deliver the digital change you dream of you’re already evidencing your commitment to working in partnership to raise Scotland’s digital aspirations as a nation. And you won’t be alone in doing so, we will support you to achieve what you set out and will champion your work along the way.

Full information on Round 6 including the guidance, Q&A and application link can be found on our website. Charter Fund awards typically range from £1000 to £10,000 however if you have a great idea costing more, but which you know will make a big difference to your organisation and the groups you support, get in touch with us at digital@scvo.org.uk and we’ll talk it through.

The deadline for applications is 11 June, with decisions being made by our Assessment Panel by mid-July. There’s plenty of time to check out our previous projects, keep an eye out for our forthcoming project guest blogs and read the research referenced above – all of which will help to shape your thinking.

We’re looking forward to being inundated with applications and can’t wait to get lots of new activity kicked off after the summer!