Visiting Blackpool with Lloyds Banking Group

13 May 2016 |Written by Adam Micklethwaite, James Richardson

There are 12.6 million people in the UK without the five basic digital skills, and helping them is something we can't do alone. Historically we've worked closely with Government to make good things happen, but increasingly we're working with brilliant private sector partners, who are just as passionate as we are about digital inclusion.

I was delighted to be able to visit Blackpool last week with colleagues from Lloyds Banking Group, including Nick Williams, Managing Director of Consumer Digital and Lloyds Banking Group Northern Ambassador; so they could see first hand the amazing work that goes on in our centres, and so they could volunteer their time to help.

As well as working with Lloyds to train 20,000 of their staff as Digital Champions, we've launched an initiative across the UK online centres network to help those Champions find centres that could benefit from their support. It's a really strong partnership, and complements the other great things we've been able to achieve working with Lloyds:

  • Launching three new courses on our Learn My Way platform focusing on financial inclusion, helping people use digital to manage their personal finances.
  • Helping charities improve their digital capability, and ultimately improve outcomes for the people they help, by providing support through the Enhance programme funded by the Lloyds England and Wales Foundation.

Layton Library gave us all a warm welcome on what was a sunny day. We chatted to some of their volunteers before a drop-in digital skills session began. Both the local MP and a local Councillor soon arrived, so the visit had generated a lot of interest. I spoke to Dorothy, a learner who'd benefitted from the centre's support in raising her confidence with digital. She now keeps in touch online with family and friends across the world including in Canada and Australia, and spoke warmly about the empowering effect the centre's support had on her life.

Seeing our centres at work is always inspiring, and underlines again the power of 'digital and community'; and it was fantastic to be able to share it with our partners at Lloyds. There's a huge amount still to do, and I'm looking forward to making more good things happen together.