Why Digital Inclusion Matters
We live in an increasingly digital world. Getting online is usually life-enhancing and it can be life-changing.
Digital inclusion is no longer a nice-to-have, but a need-to-have.
A lack of digital skills and access can have a huge negative impact on a person’s life, leading to poorer health outcomes and a lower life expectancy, increased loneliness and social isolation, less access to jobs and education.
Digitally excluded people can lack skills, confidence and motivation, along with having limited or no access to equipment and connectivity.
It can mean paying more for essentials, financial exclusion, an increased risk of experiencing poverty. People who are digitally excluded also lack a voice and visibility in the modern world, as public services increasingly move online.
What’s more, it’s those already at a disadvantage – through age, education, income, disability, or unemployment – who are most likely to be missing out, further widening the social inequality gap. And as the cost-of-living crisis bites and people prioritise energy and food, there is a real risk that people will be forced offline and more excluded.
- 11 million people, 21% of UK Adults, lack essential digital skills needed to manage day to day life according to Lloyds Bank research.
- It’s estimated that 7.8% of UK adults have either never used the internet, that's 4.2 million people (Office for National Statistics, 2020).
- But for too many people, it is unaffordable, with 8 million households having problems affording communications services (Ofcom, 2021).
The key role of the VCSE sector in digital inclusion
Many groups work with the most vulnerable people in and within communities establishing relationships based on trust which allows them to engage with those who would not normally deal with public services. This community led-support means:
- People get support to get online at a place where they feel safe
- People get support from someone they know and trust
- People get support from someone who understands their situation
- People are supported to do the things that are important to them
- People are supported to learn at the pace that’s right for them
- People are supported to access the right equipment and connectivity
Improving digital knowledge and skills within the VCSE sector
Though we play a crucial role in supporting the most vulnerable people in our society, many of the volunteers and employees within the sector do not have digital skills and confidence themselves, but that's ok! It's important that we train and upskill everyone to improve their knowledge and be confident to share this with others.
If you identify your team need to improve their skills and keep up to date with an ever changing digital world, the resources within this website are suitable for you too.
For more information see our training resource section here.
East Riding Digital Inclusion Network
To truly tackle digital exclusion, collaboration and working in partnership is the most effective approach. VCSE groups and statutory organisations have been working to overcome digital inclusion barriers, forming the East Riding Digital Inclusion Network (ERDIN). Find out more about the work of this network.
Join the Online Centres Network
The network is run by the national digital inclusion charity, The Good Things Foundation. The network brings together thousands of community groups and partners who are supporting individuals and organisations in the UK, including the East Riding of Yorkshire.
The aim of the network is to work together to tackle digital exclusion by offering free data, devices and digital skills training.
Watch the video to find out all about the network and the many benefits of becoming a member.