KCOM launch foundation to connect communities and boost digital inclusion

KCOM has today announced the first details of its foundation to help connect communities across the Humber.

(L to R) are: Kenneth Ross (KCOM Chief People Officer), Jamie Lewis (CEO Smile Foundation), Tessa Wray (Smile Foundation Head of Partnerships), Tim Shaw (CEO KCOM) and Louise Babych, (KCOM Community Impact Partner).

The broadband provider has joined forces with the HEY Smile Foundation to launch the KCOM Foundation, which will award grants of up to £25,000 during the next three years to promote online inclusion, build stronger communities, connect generations and help boost digital skills and awareness across the region.

Tim Shaw, KCOM Chief Executive Officer, said: “I’m delighted to be able to announce the launch of the KCOM Foundation, which will play a huge role in connecting people and their communities right across the Humber region – from Hull and East Yorkshire to North Lincolnshire.

“It’s hugely important to us that no-one is left behind in this digital age – either because they don’t have access to the internet or because their community doesn’t have the full fibre broadband they need to make the most of the opportunities available online.

“These grants will enable us to make a real difference with big projects, such as connecting community digital hubs to provide online access for isolated or deprived communities, as well as funding smaller initiatives such as helping individual charities.

“We want to hear from as many interested communities as possible who think The KCOM Foundation can help them transform lives and create a better connected, more vibrant region for us all to live in.”

Funds will be allocated at the discretion of the assessment panel, supporting a number of projects of up to £25,000.

There will be two windows to apply for the grants, between October and January and again between June and August, with the grant winners being announced in February and September respectively.

Applications to the fund can be made through Beecan – HEY Smile Foundation’s online grant giving platform, which brings funders, community groups and charities together.

Smile Chief Executive, Jamie Lewis, said: “HEY Smile Foundation is proud to be working alongside KCOM as its trusted partner. This is a huge amount of money going back into the heart of the community, especially in the face of digital poverty and the cost-of-living crisis.

“Smile aims to empower charities, people and communities and this funding will do just that. We recognise how important this funding is to communities and we will ensure funding goes to organisations that can make change happen and deliver the sort of transformation our partners at KCOM are determined to drive.”

The KCOM Foundation is in addition to the KCOM Community Grants scheme, which already distributes grants of up to £1,000 each year to local groups and also initiatives such as KCOM Kits, which in the past three years has donated more than 100 full team strips to children’s grassroots football teams.

During the past 12 months, KCOM employees have also donated more than 1,000 volunteer hours to help out in the local community.

To find out more about the KCOM Foundation and how to apply for its grants, please visit: https://app.beecan.org/public/funding-programme/8a1092d7-1383-5532-7387-0bb1a1ce798b