Digital Skills Pathway Projects – UKCRF

Through the Community Digital Skills Pathway project, we are testing a model of digital skills support in local communities.

The UK Community Renewal Fund is a UK Government programme for 2021/22. It aims to support people and communities most in need across the UK, to pilot programmes and new approaches to prepare for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. It invests in skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people into employment.

Good Things Foundation is delighted to be working in the North of Tyne, West Midlands and Greater Manchester delivering three Digital Skills Pathway Projects, funded by the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund.

  • West Midlands -Digital Future
  • North of Tyne – Breaking Barriers Through Digital Skills
  • Greater Manchester – Breaking Digital Barriers

We’ve recruited Online Centres in each area to develop and test a scalable digital skills and support pathway working across the community sector and the FE/Adult Education sector.

In addition to providing one-to-one support for each beneficiary on the programme through a dedicated centre network, we are working with a Further Education partner in each local authority to provide a diverse range of interventions that support beneficiaries to progress onto further learning.

The project will run from February 2022 – September 2022 and will:

Support 6,200 people to overcome barriers to getting online

Provide over 3,000 devices and data packages to residents experiencing data poverty

Support 2,000 people to access adult education to help them reach their potential and progress onto further learning

Thanks to the support they receive, beneficiaries will be able to go online to access health, care, and other services, to have a voice in decisions that affect their communities and to connect with others to – making a positive difference to the wellbeing of those taking part in the project.

We recognise that people without access to digital skills will have less access to quality jobs and fair work, which underpins their economic wellbeing. Through the project we hope to support those residents who are unemployed or economically inactive to search for and apply for jobs online, building core employability skills towards gaining sustained employment.

As a result of this programme we hope to gain valuable insights about the interventions that are required to join up community organisations, with adult learning providers and with the Further Education sector to engage those residents who are digitally excluded.

We have commissioned an independent organisation, Cambridge Research Consultants, to produce a detailed report highlighting key findings from the projects which will be delivered in October to the three Combined Authorities.

Success stories 

Earlier this week, High Oak Youth and Community Centre in Dudley  ran a session at the local college to help people gain the confidence they need to take the next steps in their digital skills journey. The centre offers a holistic approach to support. The session was attended by 20 people who were offered a warm welcome and signposted to other sources of help, including; childcare support for parents and carers and access to ESOL courses. 

One of the people attending had worked as an interpreter in Afghansitan. He said that standing up in front of the class and interpreting for others made him feel really good. The team at High Oak Youth and Community Centre were so impressed, they are encouraging him to pursue interpreting as a future career.

Radi signed up for the project at SNJ Charitable Trust in Birmingham with the goal of acquiring the skills she needed to set up her own business.  As a result of receiving support from her tutors, Radi gained the confidence to manage money online, write emails and create word documents. This gave her the skills she needed to launch her own cleaning and gardening business. 

Centre manager, Neena, tells us that Radi is “enjoying her online learning, despite working 12 hour days and recruiting staff for her business! We wish her all the success in her new venture”. 

Army of Kindness have launched digital skills sessions with the local community in Rochdale. Sessions have been organised every Thursday at Kashmir Youth Project (KYP); Apna Ghar Building. The project is called ‘Chit Chat and Chai (tea)’, helping local women gain confidence and learn new skills, or allowing them to simply have a chat. Attendees have been offered the opportunity to join the Digital Skills Pathway project to gain valuable digital skills.

The Model

The Projects seek to test the concept of a Community Digital Skills Pathway that is replicable and scalable, where:

  • People are engaged to begin their digital skills journey through local, truste, voluntary and community sector organisations
  • They build confidence with digital and as learners, through relational support and access to easy to use learning resource
  • They are supported to progress to further learning, to improve their employability and/or to gain valuable life skills

Our UKCRF Centres

You can find all the centres taking part in the UKCRF Community Digital Skills Pathway Programme here.

To find the contact details for one of our UKCRF centres please see our map.

If you want to get in touch to find out more about our work with combined and local authorities to support people to improve their digital skills, email

The Digital Skills Pathway for Shared Prosperity - Reports

Our learnings and insights from the three UK Community Renewal Fund pilots in England are now available


Supported by

UK Government

West Midlands Combined Authority

North of Tyne Combined Authority

Greater Manchester Combined Authority