Totally Stoked to be tackling digital inequality in Stoke-on-Trent

A new tech-based project will tackle the city-wide digital inequalities in Stoke-on-Trent, focussing on improving digital resources within the city’s third sector.

VAST’s Totally Stoked project, together with partners Beth Johnson Foundation, WEA and TPD Digital, will provide support to local VCSE groups across the city, who may not have the resources, skills, or confidence with the technology they need; a network of local organisations working together to close the digital gap between the groups and their beneficiaries.

There is a significant (and widening) skills gap between people who are confident with technology and those who are less so. It is the aim of the Totally Stoked digital project to provide skills and resources to reduce the inequities around access to digital technology.

“We want local voluntary and community groups to be able to engage with their members through virtual meetings and activities,” says Charlotte Bennett, VAST’s Strategic Projects Manager, “and this targeted approach will help groups to remain connected with (and reduce their risk of becoming) detached from their communities as a result of the Coronavirus.”

In the spirit of place-based giving, the project will provide the facility for smaller, neighbourhood-based organisations to access digital support without having to source it separately. For smaller local groups who aren’t directly linked to technology, an initial low-tech approach will be a great introduction to going digital. This is just one of the many ideas which have helped to shape the framework of the scheme with digital support ‘from scratch,’ building skills as well as confidence.

Thanks to the support of the local partners, together with YMCA North Staffs and Father Hudson’s, and of course, huge thanks to the National Lottery Community Fund, that the project can go ahead with providing the equipment, facilities and the volunteers to bridge the digital gap in Stoke-on-Trent.

More detailed information on this exciting new project will be released soon, but if you would like to hear more, or get involved, please email hello@totallystoked.org.uk.