Oxford’s Nominet and Good Things Foundation help close the digital divide for people in need

Nominet Good Things Foundation

Nominet UK, the Oxford headquartered organisation which manages and protects the .UK domain name registry, is providing essential funding to Good Things Foundation for the ‘Everyone Connected’ programme, which aims to help people whose lives are severely affected by digital exclusion and the Covid-10 pandemic.

The Foundation is the UK’s leading digital inclusion charity, supporting people to grow their essential digital skills and overcome social challenges.

The ‘Everyone Connected’ programme will tackle the challenges facing digitally excluded people, providing not only devices but data connection and digital skills support. It will reach people from diverse communities and backgrounds around the UK, engaging them through community-based learning, as part of a package of support based on individual needs.

The partnership between Nominet and Good Things Foundation was forged early in 2020, when they teamed up to respond to the critical shortage of digital access during the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns with the ‘DevicesDotNow’ emergency appeal.  This programme builds on that work by giving comprehensive support to people in local communities whose lives are affected by digital poverty.

Lack of devices, data and digital skills can pose a serious disadvantage to people – an inequality       which can be caused by factors including age, education, income, disability and unemployment. From making a video call to a family member during lockdown, to applying for jobs online, ordering prescriptions or accessing essential government information, their lives are immeasurably impacted. This Nominet grant of £500,000 will target 1000 people and support them to get up and running online, ensuring they have tools and training they need.

Helen Milner OBE, CEO, Good Things Foundation said: “We’re delighted to announce this partnership with Nominet, funding devices, data and support for 1,000 people whose lives are severely impacted by digital exclusion and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Covid-19 has laid bare the extent of digital exclusion in the UK. 7 million people in the UK can’t afford to have the internet at home, and over 10 million don’t have a smartphone. People who can’t afford a device or data have struggled to access education, financial and job support, and health appointments.

This one-year programme, helping people who face the most severe barriers to their life chances due to the pandemic, will have a profound impact, helping to build long term sustainability and lasting change.

Through the Everyone Connected programme, Good Things Foundation will work with its network of hyperlocal partners to reach, engage and support people, working together to help fix the digital divide, level up opportunity and drive recovery.”

Ellie Bradley, MD of Registry & Public Benefit, said: “With this project we’re building on the work we’ve done together.  ‘Everyone connected’ addresses the problems inherent in tackling one aspect of a larger, more complex problem.  It’s a comprehensive approach to ensure we think about and tackle every roadblock for those who are excluded.”

One of the main challenges of digital inclusion, which is what ‘Everyone Connected’ has been devised to promote, is that people who need help the most cannot get online to ask for it. The Online Centres Network (OCN) will work with a network of hyperlocal partners to provide practical support by telephone to help people begin to use their device and access essential services.

The next phase of the campaign will use some of the Nominet funding to establishing a Data Poverty Lab to collaborate and work with      groups or organisations who share the partnership’s ambition to end data poverty in the UK.