#techmums and Home-Start UK join pioneering programme to help young people develop life changing digital skills

By August 14, 2017#techmums, press release

#techmums and Home-Start UK are delighted to be working in partnership on a new nationwide project called MUMSCONNECTED, as part of the Nominet Trusts Digital Reach programme – a pioneering initiative developed to support the UK’s efforts to increase digital skills amongst some of the UK’s most disadvantaged young people.

MUMSCONNECTED is a nine month pilot project using a new community-based approach to help disadvantaged young mums gain the digital skills that can enable them to overcome some of the significant challenges and barriers they face in their day-to-day lives.

The MUMSCONNECTED project will work with 500 young mums living in five separate parts of England and will involve one-off workshops, training for staff and volunteers and monthly #techmums clubs designed to build mums’ confidence while teaching them different aspects of technology.

The 2017 Basic Digital Skills report suggests that, despite an overall increase in the number of UK adults who have gained basic digital skills, at least 3% (300,000) of those aged 15-24 are still being left behind.

Nominet Trust’s research indicates that it is this group that is the most likely to be facing multiple forms of disadvantage. Digital Reach has been created in response to this national challenge by reimagining digital skills delivery to the hardest-to-reach young people in our society.

By harnessing the expertise of Home-Start and #techmums, and other leading UK youth organisations, which have longstanding and trusted relationships with the most disadvantaged young people, Digital Reach intends to demonstrate how these organisations are perfectly placed to steer isolated young people towards positive futures.

#techmums founder, Dr Sue Black OBE, said, “Team #techmums are so excited to be working with Home-Start to inspire and empower 500 young mums around the UK. We know from experience that the #techmums programme changes lives and can’t wait to see the results of our collaboration.”

#techmums trustee and tech lawyer, Nilufar Anwar, said, “Digital up-skilling is key to tackling inequality and propagating social inclusion. The opportunity to learn and develop digital skills should be accessible to all. Through the combination of #techmums and Home-Start expertise, and with the support of Nominet Trust, we’re going to empower hard-to-reach mums with crucial digital skills that will help them support themselves, their families and their communities. It’s an amazing project which will truly be impactful in closing the digital divide.”

Vivien Waterfield, deputy CEO of Home-Start UK said, “I am very excited that Home-Start and #techmums are launching this vital new project. Digital skills are essential for life today, yet a shocking amount of parents that the skills that people need to take a full part in society. Accessing services, education, training and jobs are now often all done online, and without the skills parents can be isolated. Our partnership with #techmums, and the support of the Nominet Trust, is going to make a real difference to people’s lives

 Vicki Hearn, Director of Nominet Trust, commented, “Nominet Trust is pleased to be supporting this new collaboration between Home-Start UK and #techmums.  Together, they will reach out to 500 young mothers from disadvantaged backgrounds, helping them to acquire basic digital skills, overcome challenges and achieve their personal and professional goals. Funding from Digital Reach will demonstrate the potential of their model to be scaled and replicated right across the UK so that many more disadvantaged young people can be engaged with digital technology.”

MUMSCONNECTED is one of six initiatives (involving twelve different organisations) chosen by Nominet Trust after a rigorous selection process to be involved in developing pilots over the next nine months. The other participants are: Action for Children; Carers Trust; The Children’s Society and City & Guilds Group; UK Youth; Wales Co-operative Centre; YMCA Swansea; Llamau; and GISDA. In total, the pilots will initially aim to engage with 4,000 of those on the wrong side of the digital divide; the effectiveness of models to scale will also be evaluated, allowing more young people to be reached in the future.

To find out more about Digital Reach and the theory behind it, you can download Nominet Trust’s prospectus. You can also keep track of our progress by following @homestartuk and @techmumshq and #DigitalReach on Twitter.