A new Digital Participation Programme being launched today by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) will help give people across Scotland the skills to connect to the internet.

Lucy McTernan, Deputy Chief Executive at SCVO, said:

“Using the internet and digital technology is more important than ever to get jobs, access services and pay bills. The UK Government’s digital by default plans mean that very soon people will also have to go online to access benefits.

“That’s why SCVO is working with IT and digital technology professionals to improve digital participation and grow the digital capability of the third sector. We want to ensure that charities and the people they support can make the most of digital and online technology.

“It’s critically important that older people, and people living with disabilities and in poverty, who don’t have computer or internet access, are not prevented from accessing benefits or public services.

“They need support to build the skills and confidence required to keep up with these changes and make the most of everything the internet has to offer. Charities and third sector organisations are well placed to weave this support into services they are already providing people.”

Brendan Dick, Honorary President of SCVO, and Director, BT Scotland, will chair a leadership group which will oversee the work on behalf of SCVO and the Scottish Government.

Brendan said:

“Digital technology is transforming our world faster than any technological change in human history. The opportunities are enormous for those who are digitally literate. Equally, the pitfalls for those who are not are significant. As a country that prides itself in bringing opportunity to all, it is vital that all of us in Scotland work to ensure that everyone in today’s society can take advantage of digital communications.”

The programme is being backed by the Scottish Government, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop MSP, said:

“It’s great to see SCVO taking on such a critical role in helping to realise Scotland’s ambition to be a world leading digital nation by 2020. To deliver that ambition we need to ensure that our people and businesses are confident and capable users of digital technologies and that we have high levels of digital literacy across Scotland.

“Third sector organisations are in a unique position to work with those in our communities who are least likely to participate digitally. The newly created position of Director of Digital, funded by Government and recruited by SCVO, will provide dedicated leadership to the Digital Scotland Participation Action Group and champion the work of the signatories Scotland’s Digital Participation Charter.”

SCVO is recruiting new staff to complete this work, including a Director of Digital.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  1. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is the national body representing the interests of charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises.  The Scottish third sector turns over £4.5 billion a year and employs 138,000 people in over 45,000 organisations. For more on SCVO see www.scvo.org.uk
  2. Lucy McTernan, Deputy Chief Executive, and John Downie, Director of Public Affairs, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations are available for interview and comment
  3. Read more about Scotland’s Digital Participation Charter
  4. For more information contact Charlotte McNeill, Press Officer at SCVO, on 07790 601 995