Many of us take technology from granted, from the ability to easily text a friend to having Wi-Fi in our homes, but a recent study has found over 1 in 20 households have no internet access. So, why is digital inclusion so important in today's world? 
In today's world, technology has become an integral part of our lives. From smartphones to laptops, from social media to online shopping, everything is now connected to the digital world. Whilst many of us take technology for granted, around 2 million households in the UK struggle with affordability of internet access. This is why digital inclusion is so important. 
Digital inclusion refers to the work of making sure all individuals and communities have equal access to digital technologies, including the internet, and the skills and knowledge required to use them effectively. This means that everyone, regardless of their socio-economic status, ethnicity, age, gender, or disability, should have the opportunity to benefit from digital technologies. 
Digital inclusion is so important in today's world for many reasons. It helps us promote equal opportunities and social inclusion. With access to digital technology, people can access information, education, job opportunities and vital support that they may not have had access to before. Since the Coronavirus pandemic, many vital support services moved online. Digital inclusion helps to reduce inequalities and ensure that everyone has an equal chance to succeed. 
Digital inclusion also enhances growth for our communities. Many jobs now require certain digital skills, and many companies look out for candidates that have these skills and experience. By working with people to improve access to digital technologies and training through workshops, we can help to give people valuable skills that can help secure future employment. 
Digital inclusion is also important in providing better healthcare opportunities for everyone. With access to digital health services, such as the NHS app to book GP appointments and request prescriptions, people can receive medical advice and treatment, particularly helping those who may not be able to easily visit a local NHS service. Digital inclusion can also help to improve public health by enabling people to access information on health advice through the NHS website. 
Finally, digital inclusion also helps us combat loneliness and improve engagement between our communities. With access to social media, residents can connect with others, share their views and find out about what is happening in their local area.  
The Keeping Digital Foundation, a proud member of the 100% Digital York initiative, are working hard across North Yorkshire to support residents in getting online. We launched a network of monthly face-to-face support sessions called Digital Cafes, which allow residents to easily speak with a volunteer and get digital support for free. From learning how to create a Facebook account, to finding out how to access vital support online from the Council, Government or NHS, our volunteers are able to work directly with residents to answer any questions they may have around getting online. 
We're also launching a range of workshops at selected Digital Cafe locations, allowing residents to learn vital skills, from learning how to use software like Excel to selling and buying on eBay, and being scam aware whilst doing so. 
Our digital inclusion work also means that our volunteers are working hard to help residents get internet access through difficult times, like unemployment. We're able to speak about affordable broadband, access to SIM cards to allow certain residents to get online at vital times, and work to improve access to digital devices. 
Digital inclusion has never been so crucial in today's growing digital world. By providing support to those who are currently digitally excluded, we can promote equal opportunities, better skills, improved healthcare, increased knowledge on how to get vital support online, and overall improve the lives of many. 


Founder and Community Coordinator 
Tagged as: Digital Inclusion
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