How we’re going to help more organisations to fix the digital divide
Head of Network Delivery & Customer Support Gabi Woodhams, and Head of Community Engagement & Experience Isobel Thomas discuss our plans to increase the capacity of community organisations across the country.
Since the start of the pandemic, community organisations have had to adapt to remote working, increased demands for their services and the challenges of moving services online, including providing digital inclusion support to individuals in this way. They have also become increasingly aware of those individuals in their communities who are not able to get online and access digital services through a lack of kit, data, confidence and skills.
This is reflected in the Charity Digital Skills Report 2021:
‘Digital inclusion has proved to be the biggest challenge faced this year. Just over half (52%) are worried about excluding some people or groups and 24% are concerned that their audience is not online.’
In fact, according to the report, 22% of charities have had to cancel services in the last year because their users don’t have the skills or tech to use them.
Growing the capacity of local organisations to fix the digital divide
We can help. We want to grow the capacity of more community organisations in the UK to embed digital inclusion in their services and to support individuals to get online so that they can benefit from the internet and improve their own lives.
That is why we have created a new Community Engagement and Experience team entirely focused on growing and strengthening our UK network of community partners (Online Centres Network). This team will develop our membership offer, testing out new ways to support and inspire members to embed digital inclusion in their work. The team will also ensure that our learning platforms (Learn My Way and Make It Click), continue to offer the best possible experience to digitally excluded individuals and the organisations who support them.
We will also continue to offer a programme of grant opportunities through our new Network Delivery and Customer Support team. This team is responsible for the end to end delivery of our grants programme from advertising opportunities, evaluating grant applications, making awards, providing training related to grants programme delivery and managing performance. This team will also provide the network with customer support, responding to all incoming inquiries.
We are currently looking for a Community Engagement Manager to join the new Community Engagement and Experience team. This is a new role in a new team. This is a chance to help us to grow and strengthen our UK network of community partners and ensure that they – and the people they support – benefit from the resources and support we offer to help fix the digital divide.
We would love to receive applications from people who have experience of working in community organisations as you will understand the opportunities and challenges of supporting people to get online. We particularly welcome candidates whose professional and personal experience will bring new perspectives, understanding and capacity.
Head of Community Engagement & Experience
As Head of Community Engagement and Experience, Isobel leads the development and implementation of our strategies to grow and strengthen our network of community partners. She ensures that they - and the people they support - benefit from the resources and support we offer to help fix the digital divide.
Head of Network Delivery & Customer Support
Gabi leads the strategic plan for the Online Centre’s network which drives the long-term sustainability, success and impact of the network as a whole to deliver social and digital inclusion at scale. She makes sure that we're doing whatever we can to make sure all our thousands of members have the right tools to reach and support the hardest to reach in society.