As part of our partnership with Osborne Clarke, we are proud to announce that 20 community groups have been chosen to receive multi-year grants to address the lack of digital skills and resources for young people over the next three years.
According to the European Union , demand for digital skills is expected to increase more than any other area by 2030, with many hopes pinned on young people to lead the ‘digital jobs of the future’. But a recent 2021 report  finds 42% – or six million young people – don’t have access to either a suitable device or home broadband.
“Across the country millions of young people depend on charities for support, but increased demand combined with chronic underfunding means many are missing out on building essential skills. As a business, we ultimately benefit when young people are better prepared to enter the workforce. So we feel investing our resources in our local communities to help young people develop their digital skills, which will set them up for the future, is the right thing to do,” said Bola Gibson, Head of Inclusion and Corporate Responsibility at Osborne Clarke.
Vicky Chenery, Head of Partnerships and Philanthropy at UK Youth, said:
“We are delighted to have selected the 20 grantees that will benefit from Osborne Clarke’s grant funding. This multi-year funding will allow these organisations to make a long-term, sustainable improvement to their digital offering and access to technology for the young people that they serve, providing life-changing support to the young people that need it most at a critical time.”
The long-term grants will be distributed over the next three years to support the community groups in addressing local needs. Most of the successful grantees are based in the communities where Osborne Clarke operates – with 15 youth organisations across London, Bristol and Reading receiving funding.
The funding has also been targeted at the most concerning digital cold spots across the country where digital skills and resources are most in need, and the firm will also support five youth organisations in and around Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle.
As further sign of the firm’s commitment to boosting digital skills, Osborne Clarke is supporting the successful community groups with pro bono and volunteering support where it can.
The funding will be used in a myriad of ways including for skills development (both for young people and staff), additional resources, hardware equipment, creation of digital resources, software, wifi/data and impact evaluation.
One successful grantee The Open Blue Trust, a youth charity based in Wiltshire, uses a converted double decker bus as a mobile community centre for young people struggling with rural poverty. David Sandberg, CEO, said the charity will use the funding to install mobile Wi-Fi as well as purchasing hardware for the young people to use on the bus.
“We hope to run internet safety courses for the young people. We want to teach young people how to use technology so it serves them and is a resource to them. We also want to teach them what a fantastic resource the internet is, how to use it sensibly and how to avoid the dangers,” said David.
Here’s the full list of youth charities receiving grants over the next three years: