West Leeds groups net £10k to tackle digital exclusion

Venue: Armley Community Hub

Ten community organisations – including some in West Leeds – have received grants of up to £10,000 to help tackle inequalities around access to digital technologies.

Leeds Community Foundation and 100% Digital Leeds say seven per cent of the UK population are still offline and 9 million people struggle to get online by themselves, which contributes to the existing gulf across our society. Digital exclusion can impact on individuals’ and communities’ ability to engage with services and each other, impact on earning, employability, communication, and the ability to connect.

The Leeds Digital Inclusion Fund was established in 2022 in partnership with Leeds Community Foundation, 100% Digital Leeds and Leeds Digital Ball to bring together the private, public and third sector with a collective ambition of supporting communities and individuals to have the skills, support and equipment they need to be active online now and in the future.

The money will help fund a digital café and support the setup of a health and wellbeing hub in Bramley and a six-week course in Armley using art and creative software to enable attendees to develop digital skills, improve digital access and build confidence.

From Digital Health Hubs enabling older people to access the services they need, to providing refugees and asylum seekers with the skills and equipment to access online benefits, as well as employment opportunities supporting the rehabilitation and resettlement of youth offenders – the fund continues to help those who face the greatest degree of digital exclusion.

Cleveland Henry, Chair of Leeds Community Foundation said: “It is a challenging time for communities which was demonstrated by the volume of applications we received. We are truly grateful to the fundraising efforts of Leeds Digital Ball which meant we could double
the number of Community Organisations we have funded this year.

“It is also testament to the partnership between Leeds Community Foundation and 100% Digital Leeds that we received a number of strong applications, demonstrating well-planned ideas for developing and delivering sustainable digital inclusion interventions. We look
forward to continuing this partnership for years to come, truly making a huge difference to the lives of people in Leeds.”

The ten successful organisations

BID Services supports people who are deaf or hard of hearing, visually impaired or both with advice, activities and services. Their grant will be used to support the community with online safety, confidence, and empowerment across different elements of service users lives. 

Burmantofts Community Friends improves the lives of older people to remain living independently. Their grant will enable them to continue to fund their Digital Engagement Worker to deliver their weekly Breakfast and Browsers Digital Help Group and weekly Digital Advice one-to-one Drop-in Sessions. 

Complete Women CIC empowers refugee and asylum-seeking women, build confidence, raise self-esteem, and improve mental and physical wellbeing. Their grant will establish a digital skills hub, with a mixture of drop-in support from volunteers, staff training and equipment, including a resource library with pre-loaded data. 

Cross Gates & District Good Neighbours’ Scheme provide services from their community hub in Crossgates and other venues including a food bank, IT literacy, friendship groups, exercise, lunch clubs to residents living in LS9, 14 & 15. Their grants will support a test and learn 1:1 digital support aimed at accessing online services, WiFi, and equipment. 

The Highrise Project supports people living in social housing, migrant communities and people that face unemployment by running workshops and creative activities. Their grant will enable them to deliver a six-week course in Armley using art and creative software to enable attendees to develop digital skills, improve digital access and build confidence. 

Holbeck Together provides local services to relieve poverty, advance education, create community connection and improve quality of life for residents in south Leeds. Their grant will enable them to deliver Digital Champions training, access equipment and data provision as well as work with a Digital Inclusion Officer to support local residents. 

In2Out support services to support the rehabilitation of youth offenders. Their grant will fund smartphones as part of their ‘Leaving Custody Kits’. This will support with connectivity needs to access services and support for resettlement. 

Leeds Irish Health and Homes improve the health and wellbeing of Irish and wider communities in Leeds, particularly for older people. Their grant will enable them to employ a second Digital Inclusion Officer to expand and improve their current digital inclusion sessions and activities. 

RETAS Refugee Education and Training Advice Service (RETAS) support refugees and asylum seekers through activities such as advice, financial guidance, language classes, housing support clinics and employment services. Their grant will fund 

skills such as online banking, healthcare, benefits services and employment. 

Your Back Yard provides activities to get people physically active, improving health and wellbeing and they also run digital support sessions for older people. Their grant will fund a digital café and support the setup of a health and wellbeing hub in Bramley. 


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