The One Digital Community of Practice continues to improve digital inclusion for socially disadvantaged groups

Published by Kate Gallant on

One Digital, an innovative partnership that helps people to improve their digital skills through a network of Digital Champions, has continued to bring together organisations working to tackle digital exclusion at the third One Digital Community of Practice event, held last month.

The One Digital Community of Practice was launched in 2018 and is a learning collaboration for organisations involved in the One Digital programme, and across the digital inclusion sector, to share best practice approaches to digital inclusion.

Over 11 million adults in the UK lack basic digital skills, whilst over 4 million people, have no digital skills at all. Amongst socially disadvantaged groups, 3.5 million disabled adults are offline and over a quarter (28%) of people aged over 60 do not use the internet, compared with 6% of the rest of the UK. There has also been an increase in the number of younger people without basic digital skills, which now stands at 4% of 15-24 year olds, whilst 700,000 11-18 year olds (12%) have no home internet access from a computer or tablet.1

The learnings from the One Digital Community of Practice will be used to help more people develop the skills to participate in today’s digitally-driven society. 

Hosted at the BT Tower, the March event was attended by representatives from 46 different organisations working with a range of disadvantaged groups including Age UK, MIND, Carnegie UK, Clarion Futures, Family Fund, UK Youth, the Richmond Fellowship and Three UK.

The theme, ‘Making digital accessible for everyone’, focused on reaching socially disadvantaged groups, with organisations sharing learning on how and why some groups are more likely to be digitally excluded, and the impact this has on social inclusion. Through a range of presentations and workshops, the event also looked at the steps that practitioners can take to improve digital inclusion.

As well as encouraging attendees to share knowledge and experiences, the One Digital Community of Practice once again showcased how organisations can best use Digital Champions to improve basic digital skills. Project staff from 21 organisations, including some of the One Digital partners, were able to contribute to the event, running workshops and sharing good practice resources to develop and improve digital inclusion activity, in order to reach and improve digital skills across more sections of society.

Learning from the event will also be shared through the One Digital Knowledge Hub, which provides practical advice on setting up projects using the Digital Champion model of working and wider digital inclusion activities.  Much of the knowledge comes from the work of the One Digital partners including a selection of useful case studies and blogs.  It can be accessed through the One Digital website.

Kate Gallant, Learning Facilitator for the One Digital Community of Practice, said: “The One Digital programme is unique in that it brings together a group of organisations with their own areas of expertise and understanding of the barriers facing those who are digitally excluded.

“The aim of the One Digital Community of Practice is to create a collaboration where we can learn from each other’s practices, so that we can help more people develop their digital skills and improve digital inclusion, and the latest event has been hugely successful.

“The One Digital programme shows just how much can be achieved when diverse organisations come together and commit to learning from each other.”

Sarah Cant, One Digital Programme Director, said; “The work One Digital does is vital in reaching a wide range of people and organisations and helping them to improve their digital skills.

“The One Digital Community of Practice continues to be a fantastic forum for organisations working to improve digital inclusion to share knowledge and learn what works. By working together to share our knowledge and experiences, we hope to support all organisations who are running digital inclusion activities so we can reach our shared goals of helping people benefit from being online.”

Alison Davies, Head of Service Delivery and Family Contact, at Family Fund said; “We were delighted to share our specialist knowledge of working with parents on low incomes who are raising disabled children, and to have the opportunity to learn from other approaches across the digital inclusion agenda. The One Digital Community of Practice brokers and illustrates a tremendous commitment from different sectors, organisations and community initiatives towards not leaving anyone behind – an ethos we share and uphold at Family Fund.

“One Digital is making such fantastic strides in facilitating an inclusive and refreshing approach to joint working. There is still much to be done though, and it’s important that this work continues to enable our organisations to reach and engage with many more families and individuals who have so much to gain through digital.”

Launched in 2015 and supported by the National Lottery Community Fund, the One Digital partnership is made up of Age UK, Citizens Online, Clarion Futures (Clarion Housing Group’s charitable foundation), Digital Unite and the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations (SCVO).

The partners deliver projects to help people benefit from being online through recruiting and training Digital Champions. These are trusted people in local places who have received training to pass on digital skills in an informal, but effective, way.  So far the programme has already recruited over 3,600 Digital Champions and helped almost 37,000 people to learn new digital skills.  These can include applying for a job, keeping in touch with family and friends, and saving money on goods and services.

The One Digital partnership has recently been shortlisted for a Digital Leaders 100 award in the Digital Skills or Inclusion Initiative category.  To find out more and vote visit:

Resources and videos from the ‘Making digital accessible for everyone’ event are available at

For further information, case studies and interviews please contact

Hannah Barker-Green in the Age UK media team: / 020 3033 1430.R

Notes to Editors:

1: Lloyds Bank UK Digital Consumer Index 2018

About One Digital

One Digital is a collaborative digital inclusion programme developed by Age UK, Citizens OnlineClarion Futures (part of Clarion Housing Group), Digital Unite and the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations (SCVO).  The partners deliver projects to help people benefit from being online through recruiting and training Digital Champions. These are trusted people in local places who can have received training to pass on digital skills in an informal, but safe and effective way.

We’re funded by the National Lottery Community Fund until 2020 to deliver digital skills support through Digital Champions, and share what we learn. The partners run projects where skills are needed, working with charities, libraries and organisations with expertise in areas such as housing, employment, older people, social care and local communities.  The One Digital projects span the length and breadth of Great Britain, from Gwynedd to Kent and from Orkney to Brighton.

Our partners are experts in delivering quality digital inclusion projects and sharing learning and knowledge through the Community of Practice. The information and resources we develop are helping build effective community-based digital skills projects all across the UK.  Our collaborative approach means that we can have an even bigger impact on people’s digital skills for life and work, as well as their confidence and motivation to get online.

The One Digital Partners

Age UK

Age UK believes that everyone should have the opportunity to make the most of later life, whatever their circumstances.

One Digital Phase 2 will see multiple partners across regions transforming digital skills delivery for older people in areas with high digital exclusion. Delivered by local Age UK’s, older people will be supported to learn how digital skills can benefit them, for example by enabling them to keep in contact with loved ones, make savings by shopping online and pursue hobbies.

Citizens Online

Citizens Online is a UK charity committed to researching, addressing and promoting the issues of digital inclusion. In collaboration with a wide range of partners, Citizens Online has been specialising in digital inclusion, skills and service transformation since 2000.

For One Digital, Citizens Online is implementing its flagship ‘Switch’ model in 20 local authority areas — with funding from the National Lottery Community Fund, matched by contributions from partner organisations such as local authorities.

Switch is based on years of delivery experience and research and helps organisations increase uptake of their digital service transformation. Switch is a programme of evidence gathering, action planning and partnership development.

Citizens Online has already recruited over 750 Digital Champions and assisted over 8,000 people with basic digital skills as part of the One Digital Programme.

Clarion Futures  

Clarion Futures is part of Clarion Housing Group and is a registered charitable foundation. We will invest £150 million over ten years to deliver one of the largest social investment programmes in the country. Our mission is to provide social housing residents with the support, skills and opportunities to transform their lives and communities for the better.

Digital Unite

Digital Unite is one of the UK’s leading providers of digital skills learning and the only organisation that focuses exclusively on vocational training and support for Digital Champions.

For One Digital, Digital Unite facilitates the Digital Champion infrastructure for each partner project using their existing online train-the-trainer platform, the Digital Champions Network. The Network is an award-winning online platform that trains, supports and resources Digital Champions (DCs) to cascade learning within their organisations and to service users. Digital Unite is also supporting over 150 organisations from a wide variety of sectors with establishing their own local Digital Champion movements underpinned by the Network’s products and services.


The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is the membership organisation for Scotland’s charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. A dedicated team is working across public, private and third sectors in Scotland to increase digital participation.

Their One Digital project will transform the Scottish third sector to become more digitally confident and capable. By creating a meaningful intervention at leadership, organisation and individual levels they will propel the third sector to the centre of the digital revolution.

The National Lottery Community Fund

We are the largest funder of community activity in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since June 2004, we have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people.

We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people’s lives. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.

One Digital Community of Practice attendees:

Family Fund Family Fund is the UK’s largest grant-making charity for disabled and seriously ill children and has over 40 years’ experience of supporting families raising disabled and seriously ill children and young people to have the same opportunities as others. It does this by providing grants for essential items such as kitchen appliances, clothing, bedding, sensory toys, computers and tablets, much-needed family breaks and more. Last year, we provided 88,119 grants or services worth over £33 million to families across the UK.