Addressing the digital divide across Greater Manchester
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham said: “If Greater Manchester is truly going to be a world leading digital city region, we have to make a big commitment to fix the digital divide, the consequences of not doing so are severe – with our people at risk of further social isolation, lack of equal opportunities and not being able to access support. We are ensuring that everyone in Greater Manchester, whatever their age, location or situation, can benefit from the opportunities digital brings. Now is the time where Greater Manchester can lead the way in achieving an ambition that we should all strive for country wide”.
The issue of digital exclusion
A report produced by The Good Things Foundation and Liverpool University in 2020 suggests that levels of digital exclusion is much worse than previously thought. As many as 1.2m residents in Greater Manchester could be excluded in some way to access the benefits digital brings.
A lack of digital access and skills can have huge negative impact on a person’s life, leading to increased loneliness and social isolation, less access to jobs and education, which both in turn are associated with poorer health outcomes and a lower life expectancy and financial exclusion.
Greater Manchester Digital Inclusion Agenda- collaborating to fix the digital divide
In October 2020 the Greater Manchester Digital Inclusion Agenda was launched, with a bold ambition to make Greater Manchester a 100% digitally-enabled city region.
A Digital Inclusion Taskforce and Digital Inclusion Action Network were set up as part of the agenda to bring together organisations from across Greater Manchester to tackle the issue.
The Greater Manchester Digital Inclusion Taskforce
The Digital Inclusion Taskforce which now has over 190 members brings together industry, VCSC sector, public sector partners, local government, schools and health to fix the digital divide across Greater Manchester.
The Taskforce works in collaboration to focus and shape action to address the interrelated barriers to digital inclusion and the digital divide such as connectivity, accessibility, affordability, skills, motivation and confidence.
The Greater Manchester Digital Inclusion Action Network
Following his re-election in May 2021, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, announced ambitions for Greater Manchester to become one of the first city-regions in the world to equip all under-25s, over-75s and disabled people with the skills, connectivity and technology to get online.
As part of his reinforced commitment to get residents online, Andy Burnham established a Digital Inclusion Action Network. The Digital Inclusion Action Network will lead targeted action to combat digital exclusion with a specific focus on supporting under-25s, over-75s and disabled people in Greater Manchester.
The action network will shape the outcomes and areas of focus for the Greater Manchester Digital Inclusion Taskforce and will enable the Mayor to work in collaboration with businesses, local authorities, schools, voluntary and charitable organisations to drive forward this ambition.
Below, you'll also find some of the ways Greater Manchester is addressing the digital divide, including digital inclusion support in each local authority area, as well as news and updates as we progress on our mission to become a 100% digitally enabled city region.
New national tool launched as part of Get Online Week to help tackle digital exclusion
New system enhancing support for vulnerable individuals across Greater Manchester
How the Manchester Adult Education Service is helping residents grow their digital skills
Mayor of Greater Manchester reaffirms ambitions to become 100% digitally enabled city-region