Our largest ever Digital Champion Programme has launched! Find out all the details of the programme, including how your organisation can get involved.
We’re delighted to announce that our largest ever Digital Champion Programme has launched! This programme will see 50 local Age UKs and Age Cymrus deliver vital digital inclusion services between June 2022 and November 2025. Find out full details below, including details of the Age UK Digital Inclusion Network, which all Age UKs are welcome to join.
We’d like to congratulate the 25 local Age UKs who will form Cohort 1 of the Digital Champion Programme which started on 1 June and will deliver for 18 months.
If your Age UK would like to get involved in Cohort 2, then do keep your eyes peeled towards the start of 2024 for the next round of applications, when we’ll have a further 25 grants available.
The importance of Digital Inclusion
As you know, essential services, such as banking, tax, shopping and health services are increasingly becoming ‘digital first’. The Covid-19 pandemic has compounded our reliance on digital as it has changed the way we work, socialise and participate in further learning, exercise or hobbies. Older people who do not have access to the internet are now at increased risk of missing out.
How digital exclusion disproportionately impacts older people:
- Age is the biggest indicator of being digitally excluded, with the risk of being digitally excluded increasing with age.
- Almost 5 million people over the age of 55 are not online.
- 79% of older people who would like to use the internet more say a lack of skills is the thing holding them back.
What is the Digital Champion Programme?
The Digital Champion Programme will primarily address digital skills support, and provision of relevant technology and connectivity.
The Programme aims to tackle digital exclusion by:
- Embedding volunteer Digital Champions into local Age UKs frontline services
- Providing ongoing support for older people, and high-risk older people, to increase and improve their digital skills
- Provision of loan technology to those older people without access.
This model of delivery has been tried and tested by Age UK through previous programmes: One Digital and Think Digital.
What are the benefits for older people and volunteers?
We know from previous delivery that the model achieves positive outcomes across the board for older people, volunteers, and local Age UKs. Based on evaluations of the service model over the past five years, we expect to see the following programme outcomes:
- Older people will feel more inspired and more motivated to get online.
- Older people will develop digital skills and confidence and gain longer-term access to technology equipment.
- Older people will feel less isolated and more socially connected.
- Volunteer Digital Champions will benefit from increased confidence and skills.
- Local Age UK brand partners will be better equipped to provide a wide range of high-quality digital support to a greater number of older people, future proofing delivery potential.
Hear about Ray and Lloyds experiences as part of the Digital Champion Programme here: www.ageuk.org.uk/digital-champions
Join the Age UK Digital Inclusion Network
Whether you’re delivering this programme or not, you are welcome to join the Age UK Digital Inclusion Network where you’ll have access to the Knowledge Hub, Question & Answers, and Network meetings, which include guest speakers and structured discussion around key digital inclusion topics. This Network is for anyone who is already delivering or interested in delivering digital inclusion activities with older people. We encourage members to co-facilitate Network meetings, feed into the Knowledge Hub, and help answer members’ burning questions!
You can join the Age UK Digital Inclusion Network by emailing us at email@example.com.
Want to know more?
Join the Age UK Digital Inclusion Network and find out more about Age UK’s digital inclusion services by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Project webpage: www.ageuk.org.uk/digital-champions
 We know that some older people are more at risk than others when it comes to digital exclusion, and therefore want to focus some delivery within this programme on supporting those older people at high risk of being digitally excluded. Key risk indicators include, but are not limited to, older people: On lower incomes; Who are of an older age (75+); Who are living alone; With mobility challenges; With problems with memory or ability to concentrate; Who are from an ethnic minority group; Who are LGBTQ+.