Osborne Clarke commits £500k to UK Youth to support young people at risk of digital exclusion

10 August 2022

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Long-term funding programme targeting digital coldspots

Osborne Clarke is committing half a million pounds over the next three years to support leading charity UK Youth in addressing the lack of digital skills and resources for young people.

“It’s a critical time for young people and youth organisations, many of whom are still recovering from the pandemic and now face the cost of living crisis as well. We’re working with UK Youth to help to bridge the gap for young people by funding essential digital skills and services to ensure they don’t get left behind,” said Bola Gibson, Head of Inclusion and Corporate Responsibility at Osborne Clarke.

“Not everyone is developing vital digital skills evenly,” said Vicky Chenery, Head of Partnerships and Philanthropy at UK Youth. “Young people from ethnic minority, lower socio-economic and rural backgrounds are often most acutely affected, lacking the necessary resources to support their development, which is creating digital coldspots across the country.”

Research from a recent 2021 report[1] finds 42% – or six million young people – don’t have access to either a suitable device or home broadband. But at the same time, 83% of young people feel that digital skills are essential for their future job and or career.

Many hopes are pinned on young people to lead the ‘digital jobs of the future’. According to the European Union[2], demand for digital skills is expected to increase more than any other area by 2030. Additionally, better digital skills are often associated with better cognitive skills – such as logic, processing skills, and attention. 

“Osborne Clarke’s long-term commitment and support will make a big difference to the lives of young people in helping them reach their potential. The funding will be provided in the local communities where Osborne Clarke operates – across London, Bristol and Reading. It will also be targeted the most concerning digital coldspots across the country where digital skills and resources are most in need,” said Vicky Chenery, UK Youth.

“Being a holistic and future-focused firm is key to our strategy, which is centred on doing right by our people, clients and communities. While we regularly advise our clients on the global trends that are impacting on business, we also appreciate that digital transformation creates challenges and opportunities across all of society. That’s why it’s so important to us that we also commit our resources locally as well, to help alleviate the digital, relative and absolute poverty. We recognise that our business and people thrive when the communities in which we work thrive,” said Bola.

Each successful grantee will receive support to address the needs specific to its community. The funding will be used to buy new devices and software and to supply digital training and outreach. As further sign of the firm’s commitment boosting digital skills, Osborne Clarke is also offering pro bono and mentoring support to all successful youth organisations.

How the funding will work

In year one, UK Youth will identify a list of grant-ready local youth organisations with digital access requirements. From this longlist, UK Youth will shortlist organisations both local to Osborne Clarke’s offices and across the country that are based in digital coldspots and have significant need. Osborne Clarke and UK Youth will agree on 15 – 20 successful grantees and distribute long-term grants over three years.

In years two and three, there will be an additional £50k per year which will be available to longlisted organisations that weren’t successful in receiving an initial grant.

Being a responsible and ethical business and employer underpins Osborne Clarke’s business strategy. The Osborne Clarke For Good framework is the firm’s way of ensuing it’s a good corporate citizen, a good employer and a good business.

About Osborne Clarke

Osborne Clarke is a future focused international legal practice with over 300 Partners and more than 1,000 talented lawyers working across 26 global locations.* We help our clients successfully tackle the issues they’re facing today and tomorrow by supporting them with a three-dimensional approach that combines outstanding legal expertise, in-depth sector knowledge and transformational insight. It reflects global drivers of change that are having the biggest impact on our clients’ businesses: decarbonisationdigitalisation and urban dynamics. Our legal advice is also underpinned by shared technology, delivered by our digital innovations team: Osborne Clarke Solutions.

We are widely recognised for our award-winning culture that’s committed to being an environmentally friendly and well-governed firm, which embraces diversity in all its forms.

Our core sectors include: Energy and Utilities; Financial Services; Life Sciences and Healthcare; Real Estate and InfrastructureRetail and ConsumerTech, Media and Comms; Transport and Automotive and Workforce Solutions.

Osborne Clarke is the business name for an international legal practice and its associated businesses. Full details at osborneclarke.com/verein

*Services in India are provided by a relationship firm


About UK Youth

UK Youth is a leading charity with a vision that all young people are equipped to thrive and empowered to contribute at every stage of their lives. With an open network of over 8000 youth organisations and nation partners, we are focused on unlocking youth work as the catalyst of change that is needed now more than ever. UK Youth’s new 2025 strategy, “Unlocking Youth Work” outlines a bold ambition to impact young lives by unlocking youth work as a catalyst for change. We will work in partnership to build a cross-sector movement, creating a society that understands, champions, and delivers effective youth work for all. UK Youth is a multi-faceted organisation that operates at a national scale across the UK. We have influence as a sector-supporting infrastructure body, a direct delivery partner and a campaigner for social change. To find out more, visit the UK Youth Website and read our full strategy paper here.

[1] 2021 Digital Youth Index

[2] The changing nature of work and skills in the digital age, European Union

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