One Digital – new collaboration to inspire hundreds of Digital Champions to get thousands of people online

Published: Feb 9th, 2016 | Author: Laura Simpson

13891_007_GraingePhotographyA new, collaborative programme to train hundreds of Digital Champions to help thousands of people across the UK to get online has been officially launched today (11 February 2016).

At a time when the UK is moving to ‘digital by default’ but over 12 million people lack basic digital skills¹, One Digital is a unique collaboration between six diverse organisations to create a sustainable and far reaching digital inclusion solution.

Age UK, the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations, Citizens Online and Digital Unite with its partners Affinity Sutton and AbilityNet have joined forces to develop the One Digital programme which will recruit, train and support 1,400 Digital Champions nationwide.

Funded with £2 million from the Big Lottery Fund, the programme will help around 9,500 people develop basic digital skills and reach a cross-sector of society including those with disability and accessibility needs, young adults looking for work, the over 65s, and third sector organisations and their beneficiaries.

As a new One Digital Infographic demonstrates, Digital Champions are an effective tool in today’s digital inclusion landscape where those who aren’t online are now becoming harder to engage and need personal long-term support. Indeed 77% of those offline cite lack of interest as their main barrier² and 26% of computer beginners do not use their new digital skills without ongoing help³.

With 81% of learners rating their Digital Champion support as good or excellent? and 9 out of 10 Digital Champions saying they made a difference to getting people online?, providing effective Digital Champion training and support can have a huge positive effect in engaging people with today’s digital society.

Each Partner will deliver individual and bespoke projects but all of the Digital Champions within the One Digital programme will access one single training and support network that provides structured courses, extensive resources and dedicated mentor support.

Underpinning the network will be a range of evaluation tools to capture essential impact data right across the partnership. The collaboration will also enable the partners to share learnings so that best practice models can be delivered for the benefit of all Digital Champions and end-learners.

Emma Weston, Programme Director for One Digital said: “Over the last two or three years, the digital inclusion space had changed significantly. It is no longer in question that digital skills are essential but the digital skills issue can no longer be solved by third parties working in isolation.

“The One Digital partners have come together to pool our collective reach, expertise and skill to achieve a greater impact in the delivery of digital skills. Experience and evidence have shown us that empowering, supporting and inspiring people in our communities to be Digital Champions is a highly effective and sustainable way to deliver digital skills. The One Digital programme will provide the vital rigour and infrastructure to the Digital Champion proposition so that meaningful digital inclusion can be achieved for everyone across society, now and for the long term.”

All of the information about One Digital is available at


Notes to editors

¹Go ON UK 2015

² BBC Media Literacy – Understanding Digital Capabilities 2014

³ Two year longitudinal research study from Citizens Online – April 2015

? Review of Hyde Plus Getting Online 2014/15 by Citizens Online

? A telephone survey amongst Affinity Sutton Digital Champions, January 2015

For further information, case studies and interviews please contact:

Katharine Teed    07801 138383

Sara Guy                     020 3033 1430

Laura Simpson

Rebecca Stafford

Lucy Pond

Mairead Comerford

Mike Clarke

About the One Digital Partners

AbilityNet (

AbilityNet is a charitable organisation that provides a range of products and services to help disabled people use digital technology at work, at home or in education.

One Digital will enable AbilityNet to expand their existing network of volunteers through standardising and enhancing their training and support so that up to 1,000 disabled people can receive free digital skills assistance in their own homes.

Affinity Sutton (

Affinity Sutton is one of the largest housing associations in England and has been a pioneer of the Digital Champion model in the social housing sector.

As part of One Digital Affinity Sutton will specifically focus on developing training tools to encourage young people (18 – 25 years old) to become Digital Champions and develop skills that will help them into work. These Digital Champions will harness the benefits of intergenerational learning helping 360 residents with getting online.

Age UK (

Age UK believes that everyone should have the opportunity to make the most of later life, whatever their circumstances.

Its One Digital project will focus on two geographical areas, Oxfordshire and Leicestershire & Rutland, which cover both urban and rural settings and represent a diverse range of communities. Led by each local Age UK and working with the local community, the programme’s Digital Champions will support 2,000 older people to develop their digital skills and confidence.

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 120 Digital Champions.


The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is the membership organisation for Scotland’s charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. A dedicated team is working across public, private and third sectors in Scotland to increase digital participation.

Their 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. They 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.

Digital Unite ( /

Digital Unite is one of the UK’s leading providers of digital skills learning with a specialty in Digital Champion training and support.

For One Digital, Digital Unite will facilitate the Digital Champion infrastructure for each partner project using their existing online Digital Champions Network as the cornerstone. They will also provide overarching co-ordination and support across the programme to support delivery success.

About the Big Lottery Fund

The Big Lottery Fund supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK. It is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery and invests over £650 million a year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes.

Since June 2004 it has awarded over £8 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people. Every year it funds 13,000 small local projects tackling big social problems like poor mental health and homelessness.


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