SCVO media release
1 April 2015

The Digital Participation Challenge fund, delivered by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations with Scottish Government support, today published its second round of funding offers to 33 organisations across Scotland to help them get people and community groups online.

Awards ranging from £323 to £15,000 have been made right across Scotland from Dumfries & Galloway to the Western Isles for a wide range of online activities, including developing entrepreneurial skills, encouraging people to get involved in volunteering, learning more about family history and delivering classes in Gaelic.

All of the awards will support older people, disabled people or people wishing to develop basic digital skills – helping them to set up an email account, browse the internet, search for a job or access online services.

Chris Yiu, director of digital at SCVO, said:

“I’m absolutely thrilled with the range and standard of applications in this second round of the Digital Participation Challenge fund. One hundred and fifty organisations applied for funding, twice as many as in the first round. The 33 awards made this time will play a crucial role in ensuring Scotland becomes a world-leading digital nation.”

Delighted with notification of their award, three of the successful organisations provided comment on how the fund will benefit the people they work with.

John Linn, Manager at Flourish House, said:

“We support people with lived experience of long term mental health conditions and our members have multiple barriers affecting their digital participation. These include access and cost, but motivation and perceived lack of relevance are also major factors. By using our eBay fundraising project as a vehicle to learn digital skills, we are creating a sense of purpose and meaning to discovering the potential of IT. The more members we have supporting our eBay project, the more money we can earn to invest in our service.

“We will also support people to take advantage of the potential of tablets and smart phones. Most of our members do not have a computer at home, but many do have access to either a tablet or smart phone without really understanding the capability of these devices. This project will help people to feel connected and more confident about using IT. ”

Donnie Morrison, Chairman of Hebridean Connections, said:

“Our work digitising the rich cultural heritage of the Western Isles involves some of Britain’s remotest communities. The Digital Participation Challenge award will enable us to reach out to more people within these communities, especially the elderly who often form the majority of the population, and help them develop the digital skills they need to overcome the challenges of geographical isolation.”

Dawn McManus, Digital Inclusion Community Worker at Thenue Housing Association, said:

“The Challenge Fund will help Thenue Housing Associations Smart Communities Digital Inclusion Project help more people in our communities learn and gain digital skills that will enhance their lives. We will now be able to develop a Volunteer Digital Champions programme in partnership with Glasgow Kelvin College which will provide local people with the opportunity to gain meaningful work experience and a recognised certificate in Digital Inclusion. Volunteers will have the chance to work with people in their local community to help them get online and learn about the benefits of being online, this is a fantastic addition to our project.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

1. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is the national membership body representing the interests of charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. The Scottish third sector turns over £4.9 billion a year and employs 138,000 people in over 45,000 organisations.

2. The Digital Challenge Fund enables groups and organisations to digitise content, build digital networks and improve the digital skills of their members, so that they can continue to thrive in the digital world. A total of £236,000 has been awarded during phase 2 of the Digital Challenge Fund. Find out more about the fund

3. The full list of organisations receiving funding is available here

4. For interview or further comment, please call Rebecca Stafford at SCVO on 0131 474 8028