100% Digital Leeds is working with colleagues from Leeds Community Foundation, Voluntary Action Leeds, Forum Central, and the city’s tech sector to increase the capacity of community organisations and support businesses to implement their Corporate Social Responsibility offers and feel connected to the city. Initiatives include Leeds Digital Ball and Leeds Digital Inclusion Fund, and Leeds Digital Volunteering Partnership.
The tech sector
Leeds’s tech sector is the fastest growing in the UK, employing tens of thousands of people, and contributing approximately £6.5 billion to the local economy. It continued to thrive during the pandemic and is playing a vital role in the city’s economic recovery. Across the sector there are many businesses and people in them that want to give time to support third sector organisations. People in the tech sector who have already given their time, such as Accenture, have told us that there’s a clear business case for offering their skills and capacity in this way. As well as helping businesses implement their Corporate Social Responsibility offers, supporting the third sector has helped tech company workers develop their skills and feel connected to the city.
The third sector
Leeds’s third sector is made up of thousands of highly valued organisations that tackle inequalities and promote self-improvement at grassroots level. It is diverse in its activities and reaches across the city into most neighbourhoods and communities. The pandemic and cost of living crisis have had a huge impact on the sector. Funding and capacity has fallen as the need for support has increased dramatically for communities experiencing the greatest health, social, and economic inequalities.
The latest State of the Third Sector in Leeds report was sponsored by TSL, co-funded and co-produced by Forum Central and Voluntary Action Leeds and prepared by Nifty Sustainability CIC. The report shows that in 2022/23:
- Leeds’s third sector was made up of over 3,000 organisations.
- Those organisations had a combined annual income of approximately £325 million, down from approximately £358 million in 2020.
- 1,375 of the organisations are registered charities, a 10% drop since 2020.
- Of those, the vast majority (approximately 85%) were micro, small, or medium sized, with medium sized organisations having a typical annual income of £121,000. 18% were micro organisations with a typical annual income of £3,400.
- The sector had 6,326 employees, 7,960 trustees, and 31,134 volunteers. Since 2020 the sector has seen a 34% drop in paid staff, a 7% drop in trustees, and a 25% drop in registered volunteers. On average micro, small, and medium organisations have no paid staff.
At a national level 78% of charities say digital is more of a priority and 66% are interested in making use of emerging technology. However, 73% say they don’t feel prepared to respond to the opportunities and challenges it brings, with fewer than half having a strategy to focus their approach to digital transformation.
Building capacity and sustainability
100% Digital Leeds is working with cross-sector partners on a range of initiatives to increase the capacity of community organisations and support businesses to implement their Corporate Social Responsibility offers and feel connected to the city.
Leeds Digital Ball and Leeds Digital Inclusion Fund
100% Digital Leeds is working with Leeds Community Foundation and Leeds Digital Ball to increase the amount of funding and resource available to third sector partners to support digital inclusion for people and communities across Leeds. Money raised by the annual Charity Ball goes into the Leeds Digital Inclusion Fund.
The Leeds Digital Inclusion Fund is a permanent grant funding stream administered by Leeds Community Foundation in partnership with 100% Digital Leeds. The fund supports the development and delivery of sustainable digital inclusion interventions in Leeds. Grants of up to £10,000 are available to community organisations aimed at ensuring that individuals and communities in Leeds have the skills, support, and equipment to be active online, now and in the future.
Leeds Digital Volunteering Partnership
Leeds Digital Volunteering Partnership (LDVP) is made up of representatives from 100% Digital Leeds, Leeds Community Foundation, Voluntary Action Leeds, and the city’s tech sector. LDVP fosters cross-sector partnerships that help the city’s third sector organisations benefit from the digital skills and capacity of the tech sector, and to enable tech businesses and their employees to gain new skills, experience, and a sense of community through work with not-for-profit organisations.
We want to develop the necessary infrastructure to match the tech sector’s Employer Supported Volunteering (ESV) programmes and pro bono capacity with third sector organisations where skills and capacity are barriers, by offering a sustainable model of digital skills support within communities, and facilitating digital transformation.