According to the Nominet Digital Youth Index 2021 32% of young people (8 to 24) do not have access to a device when and where they need it.
That is why I, as CEO of the Learning Foundation, the leadership teams of our core partners at The Institution of Engineering & Technology, Currys and a brilliant group of other individuals and organisations decided to start the Digital Poverty Alliance so that everyone can have the opportunity to the, often, life changing benefits of digital. Our ambition is simple – to end Digital Poverty once and for all by 2030.
I am pleased to say that we are coming to the end of our initial ‘stand up’ phase which included one of our first jobs which was to establish our board from key members of the amazing teams at Currys and the IET. We also incredibly lucky to have the advice and guidance of our Co-Chairs – Lord Jim Knight and Baroness Ruby McGregor Smith.
We have been very busy and have four start-up workstreams:
- Digital Poverty is a community issue and needs a community approach to fix it and so we are really pleased to have all key sectors aligned in this issue. To help #Joingthedots we now have over twenty-six national and local Community Board members and 50 Ambassadors who have agreed to align and form the Alliance.
- To transform partner journeys and enable our community to collaborate and scale more effectively and efficiently we have launched the DPA Global Community Hub. This is where members of the Alliance can find out about events coming up, debate topics of interest and meet other DPA Community members in an informal but dedicated space. We would love for you to join the Alliance community so please do join the community hub here – https://digitalpovertyalliance.org/Community/
- One of the most important aspects of our work is to support policy makers and we have supported the relevant APPGs to listen to a range of stakeholders via a 5-day Parliament Summit. We have shared the outcomes of this summit alongside our work so far on reviewing all the relevant evidence via the interim UK Evidence Review. We have also collated many of the DPA research community reports and you can see and access these via our directories.
- There are huge opportunities to drive digital inclusion and equity, especially for young people and over the next few months we will be sharing our proof-of-concept work with partners in driving policy change for young people; this includes leading initiatives, for example, creating an intervention for prison and ex-service users and another looking to support schools develop 1:1 learning with all their pupils and one, launched with Currys in early 2021, where we are researching and supporting teachers with access to the digital world at home. We are only at the beginning and would love you to get involved. You can follow our work by subscribing on our website and/or joining the community hub. You can also follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn
We are currently focused primarily on the UK but keen to learn from the experience and understanding of other countries and, as we learn more, to share that outside of the UK too. So – wherever you are – please do join us and engage and ensure that everyone can enjoy the amazing benefits that the digital world can offer – for learning, work and life.