SCVO media release
11 February 2016

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisation (SCVO) has received investment of £528,219 from the Big Lottery Fund to help more people connect with the online world by training hundreds of people in charities across Scotland as digital champions.

With 77% of people offline citing lack of interest as their main barrier² and 26% of computer beginners not using their new digital skills without ongoing help³, people who aren’t online yet are now becoming harder to engage and need personal long-term support. Training digital champions will help address this.

This activity is part of a UK-wide Big Lottery Fund £2 million digital skills programme, One Digital, which has been developed by SCVO along with digital skills provider Digital Unite, and Citizens Online, Age UK, Ability Net and Affinity Sutton.

One Digital will ensure that people with disabilities and accessibility needs, young adults seeking work, the over 65s and charities, and the people they support, get the help they need to make the most of the internet.

SCVO will use this investment of over £528k to work with organisations in every local authority area to run a programme of training and support for over 600 charities and third sector organisations. Three different streams of activity will support these organisations to create digital champions and transform the way they engage with digital.

Fiona Hyslop MSP, Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, said:

“Getting online is more and more important to let everyone in Scotland take part in society, as well as using digital services, product and social networks.

“But nearly one in five Scots still don’t have internet access, and 16% don’t have the basic skills they need to make the most of going online. These digital inequalities mirror and reinforce the social inequalities in Scotland. If we invest in digital participation, we can help those groups who are currently left outside of the digital world take part – and thereby support a better economy, better health access, and better inclusion overall.

“To get people online takes time and investment, and this can be a huge challenge. That’s why the Scottish Government and SCVO have been working together to help people get online at a national and local level. The “One Digital” programme I’m launching today will create “Digital Champions” all over Scotland, who can help others to get online and reap the benefits – whether it’s doing the weekly shop or talking to family far away.”

Jackie Killeen Scotland Director at Big Lottery Fund said:

“As all aspect of our lives, including key services from the DVLA to the Universal credit system, are switching to online provision by default those on the wrong side of the digital divide find themselves with more barriers to accessing the support they need, or even participating in basic civic requirements. We’re funding this essential work led by SCVO to create a network of digital champions working face to face to help people develop skills which will in turn leave them confident and included online.”

Sally Dyson, Head of Digital Participation at SCVO, said:

“This is an important step towards changing the lives of some of the million people in Scotland who lack the skills to get things done online. We are incredibly excited to be working with One Digital partners to help charities pass on digital skills to the people they work with on a daily basis, helping them to understand the benefits of using the internet and giving them the ongoing support they need to become more independent in a digital world.”

Ella Simpson, Director, Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations’ Council (EVOC) said:

“Digital exclusion is a huge issue for many people the Third Sector works with. EVOC is delighted to be the Edinburgh anchor organisation for SCVOs One Digital Project, and to be hosting the launch event. The project will enable Third Sector organisations to develop and enhance their own skills and allow them pass the knowledge to, and build the confidence of, the many people in our communities. One Digital will help address the inequalities in our communities in online skills.”

A launch event will take place on 11 February at 9.15am at EVOC. 1st Floor. 14 Ashley Place, Edinburgh. EH6 5PX.


Notes to editors:

¹Go ON UK 2015

² BBC Media Literacy – Understanding Digital Capabilities 2014


  1. For further information, case studies and interviews please contact:
  • Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations
    Charlotte McNeill 07790 601 995
  • Digital Unite and One Digital overview

Katharine Teed 07801 138383

About the One Digital Partners in Scotland

  1. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is the national membership body representing the interests of charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. The Scottish third sector turns over £4.9 billion a year and employs 138,000 people in over 45,000 organisations. For more on SCVO see

    The One Digital project will identify, develop and assess the contribution that frontline organisations in the third sector can make with delivering digital skills to the people most in need. It will test a cascade model of training and support across 250 charity and voluntary organisations to engage 750 Digital Champions and reach 2,000 beneficiaries.
  1. Citizens Online

    Citizens Online is a national charity that works in partnership with local councils, housing associations, job centres, corporates and the community and voluntary sector to tackle the issues of digital inclusion in a sustainable and scalable way.

    For One Digital they will work with local partnerships in four target areas (Plymouth, The Scottish Highlands, Brighton and Gwynedd) on an innovative model called Digital Resilience. This model seeks to find holistic and sustainable approaches to digital champions by working in deep partnership and aligning to other outcomes such as employability and digital by default. Citizens Online will support 4000 end learners through 200 Digital Champions.