Published On: 6th July 2023

Foundation Supports Disadvantaged Communities through Cost-of-Living Crisis

As the cost-of-living crisis has deepened this year, the Foundation has sought out projects that offer respite to communities across the UK who have been hardest hit and has donated grants to three organisations working to alleviate poverty through enhanced technology with a combined grant value of over £160,000.

In Nottingham, the Foundation has awarded £118,692 and provided refurbished laptops to Framework. Framework is Nottinghamshire’s leading provider of housing, care, support and enablement services to vulnerable people, empowering them to overcome issues of homelessness, addiction, mental ill-health, unemployment, and exclusion.

The continuing acceleration of digital technology puts this already vulnerable cohort of people at a further disadvantage. Funds from the Foundation will be used to mitigate the digital divide by providing a team of dedicated staff to coordinate organisation-wide digital inclusion activity, source ongoing donations of laptops, mobile phones, SIM cards and dongles from corporate partners and ensure that these are utilised effectively to support people in the greatest need.

Pip Morrison, Service Manager, Digital Inclusion, commented:

“Receiving this funding from The Access Group Foundation has been critical to developing the digital inclusion offer for our service users. With the funding we are going to be able to recruit to two new, specialist members of staff who will be working with existing trainers, volunteers, and support staff to ensure that digital services – training, support and kit – can be rolled out effectively to our vulnerable service users across the organisation. This will mean that many people, who experience severe and multiple disadvantages, and who are isolated, will be facilitated to become more connected digitally.”

In Liverpool, the Foundation has awarded £6337 to support The Initiative Factory to help run their Welfare Support & Income Maximisation project. This project will help some of the most deprived individuals within the community receive their correct state benefits, by removing the digital barriers people face when trying to claim their entitled benefits.

Working with people over state pension age, lone parent families, and individuals who have trouble with electronic mediums, the funding supports the provision of weekly sessions concentrating purely on the individual’s financial position and making sure they get their right benefit entitlement in a safe, friendly, comfortable, non-judgmental environment.

In Manchester, the foundation has awarded £35,829 to Lifeshare, a grassroots organisation who specialise in supporting the homeless. The foundation grant will support their Digital Inclusion Project giving homeless people equal opportunities to access the life enhancing benefits the digital world can provide.

The charity provides digital devices, internet access and offers multiple learning options. Over the next 12 months, it aims to support over 146 new clients and as well as existing clients by taking them out of digital poverty through training and equipping them with digital skills.

The Charity’s Digital Inclusion Coordinator commented:

“The grant will enable us to further our goal of tackling the digital divide, not only will we be able to provide devices and mobile data to those experiencing digital exclusion, but we will also be able to run digital skills workshops in areas identified as ‘highly digitally excluded’ by the Digital Exclusion Risk Index.

We will be able to equip individuals with the necessary resources and skills to navigate an increasingly digitalised society, where those without devices and internet face a poverty premium.”