Nobody in the dark reignites to ensure no one is left behind by digital revolution

Good Things Foundation, Mastercard, Lloyds Banking Group and Clean Slate join forces on programme to support digitally and financially excluded people across UK.

  • There is a clear digital divide which has been exacerbated by the rapid shift to digital during national lockdowns.
  • Lloyds Bank’s 2020 Essential Digital Skills data reveals those with lower household incomes are less likely to be able to carry out all 7 foundation tasks.
  • Lloyds Bank’s 2021 Consumer Digital Index data shows Wales, the East of England and the North East of England have the highest proportion of those offline.
  • Nobody in the Dark offers personalised support to digitally and financially excluded people from 20 centres across the UK, helping those who have been cut off throughout the pandemic.

Mastercard, Lloyds Banking Group, Good Things Foundation and Clean Slate Training & Employment CIC have today announced a renewed focus on supporting digitally and financially excluded people who have particularly struggled during the pandemic by launching the Nobody in the Dark programme in 20 centres across the UK.

The pace of change and digitisation of everyday activities in society has increased dramatically since March 2020 but a clear digital divide remains. According to the 2020 Lloyds Bank UK Essential Digital Skills data, people with an annual household income of £50,000 or more are almost 40% more likely to be able to carry out all 7 foundation tasks than those earning less than £17,499. Meanwhile the 2021 Lloyds Bank Consumer Digital Index shows Wales, the East of England and the North East of England have the highest proportions of those offline.

These people have not only been cut off from vital sources of information during the pandemic but are unable to access tools and services that could help them manage their finances, medical services as well as connecting to loved ones.

The Nobody in the Dark programme will offer personalised, face-to-face support to digitally and financially excluded people from 20 centres across the UK in locations such as Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, and Swansea. The programme will target people living in poverty or on low incomes, who have limited digital skills and need support to use digital financial tools. This includes people facing greater risks of digital and financial barriers, including disabled people and people from communities experiencing racial inequalities.

The free resource hub at nobodyinthedark.co.uk is also available to help boost the confidence of those with limited digital skills, allowing them to engage confidently with free, trusted online support on money, security, benefits and debt.

Kelly Devine, Divisional President, Mastercard UK & Ireland commented: “Promoting digital inclusion is crucial to ensure that nobody gets left behind in the new normal. Offering everyone access to the tools and skills they need to enter the digital revolution will ensure that people, communities and our economy can thrive as we emerge from the pandemic.”

Stephen Noakes, Retail Chief Digital Officer, Lloyds Banking Group commented: “In terms of digital engagement, the UK has made five years’ worth of progress in just one year. People using digital tools and services have a real advantage. They are more likely to build their saving reserves, find new ways to save money on services and can more easily find and access new information. In addition, the digital channel can help them manage their wellbeing and keep connected to loved ones. It’s so important that programmes like these continue to work with those at risk of being left behind.”

The 2021 programme builds on the success of a 2020 pilot which reached hundreds of people across the UK. The individuals directly supported were able to improve their financial health, learn about taking simple steps such as changing utility providers and confidently use the internet to access financial services online. A survey of those who took part found eight in ten (80%) felt more confident staying safe online while six in ten (57%) said they felt more confident using the internet to manage money.

Helen Milner OBE, CEO, Good Things Foundation commented: “The success of our 2020 pilot demonstrated not only the need for support with basic digital skills, but also the potential to help more people live better lives through digital. We’re delighted to be rolling out the programme in 20 regions, working with our brilliant Online Centres Network and coalition of partners. This will help build confidence and unlock opportunities for people around the UK, connecting them to vital services, information and financial help.”

Jeff Mitchell, Founder of Clean Slate Training & Employment CIC commented: “The people we work with simply don’t have the same opportunities as those who are digitally connected. Programmes like these are vitally important to ensuring we build a fair society where people can provide fully for themselves and their families. The roll out gives us an opportunity to make some positive progress following a year that has been especially hard for those in lower income brackets, making sure they are not further behind when everyone else is getting ahead.”

 

When digital and financial skills make a difference

Becky received a tablet from the school for her children, but she didn’t even know how to turn it on. A support worker helped her to get started and guided her through the online health check (Future Proof Finance quiz) as a practical way to build her digital confidence as well as open up a conversation about her financial situation. This identified food insecurity as a major worry for Becky. With support, Becky was able to get vouchers instead of food parcels from the school - giving her a budget for groceries which meant she could shop online for the first time, order bulk, get free delivery and save on weekly travel costs.