100% Digital Leeds is working with Leeds Community Foundation and the city’s tech sector to increase the amount of funding and resource available to build the capacity of third sector partners and increase digital inclusion for people and communities across Leeds.
Leeds Digital Ball
The Leeds Digital Ball is an annual charity event to raise money from digital and technology companies in the city. The charity ball organisers are made up of a board of members and advisors from across the Leeds region who came together as a collective to help represent the local tech community in supporting digitally excluded communities and driving positive change. The inaugural Ball took place in 2022 and saw £50,000 raised and donated to Leeds Digital Inclusion Fund. The fund supports the ongoing development of the city’s digital inclusion infrastructure across the third sector.
Leeds Digital Inclusion Fund
100% Digital Leeds worked with Leeds Community Foundation (LCF) to develop the Leeds Digital Inclusion Fund, a permanent grant funding stream administered by LCF in partnership with 100% Digital Leeds. The 100% Digital Leeds team worked with LCF to write the funding criteria and grant application process for charities to bid into the fund. The fund supports community organisations in the development of sustainable digital inclusion interventions enhancing the organisations’ core offers, ensuring that people and communities in Leeds have the skills, support and equipment to be active online, now and in the future. The 100% Digital Leeds team is represented on the judging panel and offer support to successful applicants to implement their digital inclusion plans.
“We find it so valuable to work with 100% Digital Leeds. Their knowledge of community organisations, and the practical support and advice they offer, is helping to make Leeds a more digitally inclusive place for everyone who lives here. This makes them the perfect partner for Leeds Community Foundation and our work around digital inclusion.Kate Hainsworth, Chief Executive, Leeds Community Foundation
The initial funding pot of £50,000 was made up of funds raised by the Leeds Digital Ball. In August 2022 five grants of £10,000 were awarded to charities who have used the money to increase or enhance their digital inclusion offer.
Between them the five funded organisations support a range of people and communities more likely to be digitally excluded:
- Your Back Yard received funding to expand their well-established digital and social inclusion offer for older people. Using the funding to employ a dedicated outreach worker, purchase more tablets and data, and recruit more volunteers, enabling them to deliver more sessions in Headingly and Holt Park.
- Smart Works received funding to embed digital skills and access support in their work supporting women to enter and re-enter the workplace by helping clients with workwear, confidence-building and coaching for job interviews.
- Highrise Project received funding to support the embedding of digital inclusion into their existing creative skills and mentoring offer for people in Armley, including the purchase of equipment.
- Meanwood Valley Urban Farm received funding to support them to build digital elements into their HOOF (Help Out On the Farm) group. The HOOF group is a group of people with learning disabilities who learn new skills, work with animals and improve their health and wellbeing in a variety of settings at the farm.
- Burmantofts Senior Action received funding to build upon their existing digital inclusion offer and expand outreach within the community by employing an Outreach Worker and establishing a tech-lending library and data-gifting service.
Plans for 2023
100% Digital Leeds is working with Leeds Community Foundation to develop the next round of the grants scheme, with the fund due to be announced in early Summer of this year.