Local communities benefit from first KCOM Digital Inclusion Grants

KCOM has announced the first three winners of its Digital Inclusion Grants – aimed at improving lives in communities across the region.

The winners are City of Hull Sport & Community Group CIC, which will launch a new Digi Skills project on Hull’s Orchard Park Estate providing digital training for local people; KIDS Yorkshire, which will invest its grant in new technology helping youngsters with special educational needs; and North Lincolnshire’s Carer’s Support Service, which will use its grant to open a Carer’s Hub, providing online support and reducing isolation for local carers.

KCOM Chief Executive, Tim Shaw, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to announce the first three winners of our Digital Inclusion Grants. We were bowled over by the number and quality of the applications we received and it was incredibly difficult to pick three winners. But the first three successful groups showed that their grants will make a real difference to people living within their communities, creating life enhancing opportunities and providing essential digital skills.

“As a company that’s been at the heart of our local communities for 120 years, it’s more important than ever that we continue to support the local communities that we serve, providing online opportunities, levelling up digital skills across the region and broadening horizons for everyone to make sure they are not left behind in this digital age.”

The East Yorkshire-based broadband provider announced the first grants from its KCOM Foundation initiative, run in partnership with the HEY Smile Foundation, as part of its 120th birthday celebrations which are running throughout the year.

KCOM has pledged to provide grants of up to £25,000 each during the next three years, to play a pivotal role in its mission to promote online inclusion, foster stronger communities, bridge generational gaps and enhance digital skills and awareness within Hull, East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire.

Mike Gibbons, Chairman of City of Hull Sport & Community Group CIC, said its grant of £11,228 will help change local lives within the Orchard Park community for the better:

“With the brilliant support of a KCOM Digital Inclusion Grant, we will launch the ‘Digi Skills’ project with an aim of addressing prevalent digital challenges and low skills impacting the lives of families living on the Orchard Park Estate. The ‘Digi Skills’ learning and engagement program aims to positively influence the lives of its beneficiaries regardless of age. On behalf of City of Hull Sport & Community Group, I would like to extend a sincere thank you and we are extremely excited about starting this program and feeding back the positive changes it has made to our community.”

Claire Crosbie, Senior Yorkshire Fundraiser for Kids Yorkshire, welcomed her group’s £7,500 grant:

“Kids are here for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, young carers and families. We’re on a mission to create a world where all kinds of children and young people have all kinds of opportunities [many of which are life-changing] by providing a wide range of support from early years into adulthood.

“We are incredibly grateful to KCOM for their generous donation to Kids Yorkshire. With this new funding we will be able to purchase some amazing new technology enabling us to nurture the collaboration between digital and frontline services in Hull and the East Riding; developing digital services, resources and training for our children, young people and families to complement face-to-face delivery.”   

Rosa Torraca, Service Delivery Manager for the Brigg-based Carer’s Support Service, said her group’s £5,000 grant would make a big difference to the local community:

“The funding from KCOM will enable us to open our Carer’s Hub – a dedicated place for carers to meet other carers and find out information from our expert team. The grant will help us to provide digital solutions for carers; whether it’s free Wi-Fi, using a computer or copying documents with support from our digital tutors. All of which supports carers to become independent, feel less isolated and benefit from the company of others.”

A second round of the KCOM Foundation’s Digital Inclusion Grants will be announced later this year.

For more information about the KCOM Foundation’s Digital Inclusion Grants or for details on how to apply visit here.