Officially launched on 30 January by Kate Forbes, Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy, the seventh round of the Digital Participation Charter Fund is now openand SCVO Digital looksforward to supporting further development of essential digital skills across Scotland. 

Roses are red, violets are blue – could Round 7 of the Charter Fund be the one for you?  

Well, we really hope so! With 85 projects funded over the past 3 rounds, the Charter Fund has supported some excellent digital skills development activity to date but we know there are lots more organisations out there looking for support in this area and we would love to work with as many as possible over the coming year. 

As with previous rounds, we’re looking to fund organisations working to tackle poverty, social isolation and other forms of inequality faced by their by building and embedding essential digital skills into all areas of their day-to-day activity. The types of projects and the approaches to embedding essential digital skills can vary – they key is tailoring the action to suit.  

Looking at previously funded projects as an example, we’ve love you to use the Essential Digital Skills Toolkit to undertake an audit of the whole organisation and put in place support & training plans to bring staff and volunteers up to speed to ensure they are best placed to support clients. Or you may wish to creatively bring digital into class environments – such as the use of YouTube for cooking classes, google searches for knitting patterns or crafting ideas, or build in social networking/digital hub activity to help projects tackling loneliness.  

An important aspect of your success with the Charter Fund is being realistic from the outset about what is achievable. We always advocate erring on the side of caution in terms of target numbers and delivery milestones – don’t overcommit yourself in the hope of securing funding. Remember that, just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, your journey to building essential digital skills needs the appropriate time and consideration to lay the foundations well. 

It is also vitally important that you have the right support & advice to help your projects fly. We are passionate about supporting the development of essential digital skills across Scotland and take a whole team approach to achieving the aims of the Charter Fund, and the overarching Digital Participation Charter, which now has over 600 signatories.  

From an initial Digital Check-up of your organisation’s needs to a review of staff and volunteer digital skills using the Essential Digital Skills Toolkit, we offer various opportunities to ensure the very best outcomes for all organisations we engage with and help maximise the impact of our Charter Fund investment.  

We aim to give our funded organisations the operational freedom to make the moves and changes required to ensure their projects are a success but will be there every step of the way to offer as much, or as little, support & guidance as required.  

I was delighted to receive the following message recently from one of our Round 6 projects, which sums up the type of funder we strive to be, and highlights the type of support we will always offer: 

“We had such a useful chat over the phone before I started pulling together our application for the previous round of funding – not often you get that kind of hands on support and guidance as part of the application process, and so helpful.” 

Our previously funded projects are listed online and are a great place to start your research & planning. We will also be bringing you weekly project guest blogs over the duration of the application window which will give you more food for thought. 

In the meantime, check out the Round 7 information including the guidance, Q&A and online application form and have a think about what you would like to achieve. We love chatting over projects ideas so please don’t be shy – drop us an email and we will get in touch to talk through your ideas. Hopefully it will be the start of a beautiful relationship.