The Scottish Government has announced that an additional £200,000 will be invested to help reduce isolation and improve job opportunities through the teaching of digital skills. The Digital Participation Charter Fund has supported 143 organisations to help 15,000 vulnerable people gain basic digital skills since its launch in 2014.

The fund supports the work of the Digital Participation Charter – a group of organisations which use their expertise to help people in the community, and their own workforce, to gain digital skills. Citizens Advice Scotland today become the 500th signatory.

Announcing the funding, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop visited The Welcoming – a charity in Edinburgh that has used resources from the fund to equip refugees with digital skills. “The Scottish Government is committed to increasing digital participation and ensuring that everyone gets the opportunity to enjoy the social, cultural and economic benefits digital skills can bring.

“Our Digital Participation Charter Fund is a key part of that work. The funding I’m announcing today will be focussed on reducing isolation and loneliness and helping people get back into the world of work.

“I would like to thank all of the 500 organisations who have supported this work by signing up to the Digital Participation Charter – including our latest signatory, Citizens Advice Scotland.”

Citizen’s Advice Scotland Trustee, Karen Nailen said: “The Citizens Advice Bureau network can play an important role in supporting digital participation. We have a national reach: with almost 300 locations across Scotland, we help one in 14 adults every year – 34% of whom have limited or no access to the internet.

“We also have more than 3,000 staff and volunteers and we want to ensure those individuals have the skills and confidence to support clients to get online.”

David McNeill, Director of Digital at the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, which administers the Digital Participation Charter Fund, added: “Citizens Advice Scotland join an active community of organisations across the public, private and third sectors who are taking action to support the 800,000 people in Scotland who need help to make the most of new technology and the internet.

“The Charter Fund has also enabled community projects to assist over 15,000 people to improve their job prospects or reduce social isolation by developing basic digital skills. We are grateful for the continued support of the Scottish Government to increase digital participation, ensuring the benefits of the internet are available to everyone.”