Digital Inclusion Fund

white bridge stretching into the distance

Objectives

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The Digital Inclusion Fund aims to support projects designing, researching or delivering digital inclusion programmes with a focus on older and/or disabled people. The projects must include something new, creative and innovative within their approach to tacking digital exclusion. The fund could also be used to test and learn from the new approaches. The projects supported may also have scope to scale up and deliver a wider impact.

Background

While the number of digitally excluded people across the UK is falling, there are some demographics where the figures remain high such as older and disabled people.

The ONS Internet Users data for 2017 found 22.5% of people meeting the Equality Act definition of Disabled[1] had never used the internet (2.7 million people), compared to 4.9% of those who didn’t.

The 2018 Lloyds Digital Index also suggested 28% of those aged over 60 are offline and, comparable with ONS figures, that 25% of those with a registered disability (3.5 million) are offline compared with 6% of the rest of the UK. The figures are much higher for older disabled people: 26% of disabled people aged 65-74 (615,000 people), and 57.9%. of disabled people aged over 75 (1.6 million people) are estimated to have never used the internet.

The Digital Inclusion Fund has been launched to help older and disabled people get digital skills. Innovative projects are expected to include the teaching of basic skills such as booking GP appointments online, using apps to communicate with friends and family, and making the most of search engines.

The fund will also harness the power of tech to get people online and support the Digital Strategy which sets out the government’s ambition to create a world-leading digital economy that works for everyone.

Minister for Digital Margot James said:

“It is crucial everyone is able to take advantage of digital technology, whether it is to learn how to use the internet or develop the skills to work in a tech role.

“If we want to maintain our position as a world-leading digital economy we need to work with industry, local authorities and the voluntary sector to develop solutions so no-one is left behind.”

About the Digital Inclusion Fund

What is it: The Digital Inclusion Fund aims to support initiatives designing, researching or delivering digital inclusion programmes with a focus on older and/or disabled people, in a new, creative and innovative way. It aims to improve essential digital skills and demonstrate how digital inclusion can improve the lives and well being, of older and/or disabled people. The initiatives supported may also have scope to scale up and deliver a wider impact. Funding could be used to test and learn from the new approaches to tackling digital exclusion.

Who can apply: Charities and not for profit organisations, including social enterprises, supporting or aiming to support older and/or disabled people with essential digital skills, although this does not need to be the main focus of your organisation. The funded projects ideally will have the potential for transformative social impact at scale and the ambition for growth and sustainability.

Where: The funding must be used to benefit people living in England.

How much: Those eligible can apply for grants between £50K-£200K

Duration of Funding: Twelve months from January 2019 – December 2019. As this is a short funding period, we would welcome applications from projects already in operation, however you must demonstrate how the funding will add a step change and real new value to your existing project and not be part of core funding.

When: Applications are open from midday on Monday 10 September until midday Monday 1 October. Successful applications will be notified no later than 12 November 2018.

How: Please read the FAQ below, and then apply by completing the online application form at the foot of the page. The first section of the form is a pre-screening questionnaire to check your eligibility. Please email difund@citizensonline.org.uk if you have any questions.

Criteria and what we’re looking for: New and creative approaches to support older and/or disabled people with digital skills, with potential to scale for wider impact and longer term sustainability. Projects aiming to show impacts that are both life enhancing (e.g. a reduction in loneliness) for end users and cost reducing for service providers. The project can sit within a wider programme of work or be its main focus.

Your project should include at least two of the following:

  • New, creative and innovative approaches, which might include reference to the first four Grand Challenges set out in the UK’s Industrial Strategy
  • The use of public services and enabling digital service transformation, including but not limited to welfare reform and the health agenda
  • A focus on digitally excluded people living in rural areas
  • Alignment with, where relevant, the Digital Skills Partnerships
  • Economic activity by older and / or disabled people, where relevant
  • Reference to pillars within the Digital Strategy, beyond the obvious focus on digital skills, for example data, digital business and cyber security
  • Development of any existing activity where you have evidence that it has been successful, either by exploring ways to make it sustainable or be scaling it up in a cost-effective manner
  • Learning from a successful engagement activity delivered by you or others, and replicating it with a new audience, eg a different demographic or location

[1] The ONS explain their use of “Equality Act Disabled” by saying it “refers to those who self-assess that they have a disability in line with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) definition of disability.”

Application Scoring Criteria

CriteriaConsiderationPoints
IdeaIs what is being proposed ‘new and innovative’ and why?
Is it scalable?
30
Outcomes for targeted groupsStrength of planned delivery and expected benefits for beneficiaries30
Alignment to wider agendasHow strongly the project fits to two or more of the criteria (it’s not important that it fits to more than two, the fit can be either deep or broad)20
Value for moneyThe number of beneficiaries compared to overall project cost (and we will benchmark this with other bids)10
EvaluationEvidence of a planned, robust and considered evaluation10

FAQ

What is the Digital Inclusion Fund?

The Digital Inclusion Fund aims to support projects designing, researching or delivering digital inclusion programmes with a focus on older and/or disabled people. The projects must include something new, creative and innovative within their approach to tacking digital exclusion. The fund could also be used to test and learn from the new approaches. The projects supported may also have scope to scale up and deliver a wider impact.

Do we require any match funding?

No

What types of organisations are eligible?

Any Charity, not for profit organisation or social enterprise can apply to the fund. The funded activity must benefit people living in England.

We’re already delivering a programme, can we apply for funding to extend / enhance it?

Yes, but you must clearly demonstrate how the funding will add real value to your existing project. As the funding period is relatively short, we would welcome applications from organisations with suitable programmes already in operation.

What is the deadline for applications?

Midday (BST), 1 October 2018

What is the maximum length of the grant period?

Twelve months. We will award funds in January 2019, and the project must close in December 2019

Can we include staff costs as part of the funding?

Yes.

What kind of outcomes and outputs should we be aiming to develop as part of the project?

We would expect your project to demonstrate impact on older and/or disabled people’s digital skills, but depending on your project you may have a range of other outcomes as a result of your work or research.

How do we apply?

Complete the application form embedded below (this is alternatively available at https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/DIFUND/).

Should we attach additional documents to support our application?

The application form contains a question relating to the rationale or theory of change for the project. We understand that in many cases your answer may be easier for you to provide, or better illustrated, as a diagram rather than plain text. In this instance you are welcome to submit any additional documentation by email (difund@citizensonline.org.uk). Otherwise, we do not anticipate receiving, nor require, additional documents from you to support your application. If there is something you feel is vital to send us by email, then you may, however the application assessors make no guarantee of reading additional material submitted in this way. You may choose to link to particular documents by including URLs for these within the text of your application.

Do you have examples of previous initiatives that have been funded?

The Digital Inclusion Fund is a new fund so we do not have specific examples of previous applications to the fund. However, we would imagine the types of initiatives would include at least two of the following:

  • New, creative and innovative approaches, which might include reference to the first four Grand Challenges set out in the UK’s Industrial Strategy
  • The use of public services and enabling digital service transformation, including, but not limited to, welfare reform and the health agenda
  • Alignment with, where relevant, the Digital Skills Partnerships
  • Where relevant, economic activity by older and/or disabled people
  • Reference to pillars within the Digital Strategy, beyond the obvious focus on digital skills, for example data, digital business and cyber security
  • Development of an existing activity where you have evidence that it has been successful, either by exploring ways to make it sustainable or by scaling it up in a cost-effective manner
  • Learning from a successful engagement activity delivered by you or others, and replicating it with a new audience, eg a different demographic or location

How are applications assessed?

Applications will be scored and assessed by an independent panel with a range of expertise across the fields of: older people; disabled people; digital skills; health and well-being; transformation and innovation.

Can we submit more than one application?

Yes. If your organisation is delivering or planning to deliver a range of different approaches to supporting older and/or disabled people with digital skills then you can submit a separate funding application for each initiative.

What is the definition for ‘older people’?

Those 55 years of age and older.

Application form

The application form is embedded below, but if for any reason you are unable to access this it is also available at SmartSurvey. If you are still unable to access or complete the survey online then please inform us by email (difund@citizensonline.org.uk).

The first page of the form is the pre-screening section, which checks that your application meets the broad criteria for eligibility. The form then contains three further pages that constitute the rest of the application.

You can download a Word (.docx) version of the application form here to assist with preparing your application. However, all applications must be made using the online form, not by submitting the Word document.

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