Pioneering programme to help Wales’s most disadvantaged young people

Almost £100,000 has been awarded to the Wales Co-operative Centre, YMCA Swansea, Llamau and GISDA as part of Nominet Trust’s Digital Reach programme

6 Jul, 17

Nominet Trust has awarded almost £100,000 to a partnership of four organisations, Wales Co-operative Centre, YMCA Swansea, Llamau and GISDA, as part of its Digital Reach programme – a pioneering initiative developed to increase digital skills amongst some of the UK’s most disadvantaged young people.

The funding will be used to deliver My Digital Life, a project which will support some of the most disadvantaged and ‘hard to reach’ young people across Wales. It will work alongside them to improve their digital skills, confidence and self-esteem, using approaches that chime with their interests and needs.

The 2017 Basic Digital Skills report suggests that despite an overall increase in the number of UK adults who have gained basic digital skills, at least 3% (300,000) of those aged 15-24 are still being left behind. Nominet Trust’s research indicates that it is this group that is the most likely to be facing multiple forms of disadvantage. Digital Reach has been created in response to this national challenge by reimagining digital skills delivery to the hardest to reach young people in our society.

By harnessing the expertise of the Wales Co-operative Centre, YMCA Swansea, Llamau, GISDA and other leading UK youth organisations which have longstanding and trusted relationships with the most marginalised young people, Digital Reach intends to demonstrate how these organisations are perfectly placed to steer isolated young people towards positive futures.

Nominet Trust’s funding will enable the Wales Co-operative Centre, YMCA Swansea, Llamau and GISDA to co-design and co-deliver sessions for small groups of young people which will help them develop digital skills beyond basic use of social media. Sessions could help young people to manage their money, search and apply for training and jobs, and life healthier lives.

Karen Lewis, Director of Communities and Inclusion at the Wales Co-operative Centre, stated:

The Wales Co-operative Centre welcomes the prospect of working with both our partners in Wales and the Nominet Trust to meet this challenge and begin to make an impact in this critical area of work. This is a fantastic opportunity to work with vulnerable young people to help them become more digitally confident and develop their understanding of the opportunities that the Internet offers them.

Vicki Hearn, Director, Nominet Trust, said:

Nominet Trust is delighted to be supporting this joint initiative involving the Wales Co-operative Centre, YMCA Swansea, Llamau and GISDA. Digital Reach funding will enable them to reach out to 375 of the hardest to reach young people across Wales, offering the opportunity to gain crucial digital skills as an integral part of their life skills programmes. We believe this pilot will demonstrate the potential of this approach to achieve impact at scale.

 My Digital Life is one of six initiatives (involving twelve different organisations) chosen by Nominet Trust after a rigorous selection process to be involved in developing and implementing pilots over the next nine months. The other participants are: Action for Children; Carers Trust; Home-Start and #techmums; The Children’s Society and City & Guilds Group; and UK Youth. In total, the pilots will initially aim to engage with 4,000 of those on the wrong side of the digital divide; the effectiveness of models to scale will also be evaluated, allowing more young people to be reached in the future.

To find out more about Digital Reach and the theory behind it, you can download Nominet Trust’s prospectus . You can also keep track of progress by following @WalesCoopCentre and #DigitalReach on Twitter.