#GivingTuesday - Digital Opportunities Fund

by UK Youth

Microsoft Youth Hubs are now rolling out in 2015, this year we have allready granted over £100,000 of grants to community organisations to support the set-up and delivery of 6 Ambassador hubs and 10 New Microsoft Youth Hubs.

The Digital Opportunites Fund has not begun to grant funding for community engagement grants. During 2015, we will offer an opportunity for Microsoft Youth Hubs (youth clubs across the UK) to host informative, open-access community events led by young people. Through these events we hope youth hubs will be able to engage new members of the community and expand the reach of their Hub’s digital peer education.

To extend the digital skills and technology work of the Microsoft Youth Hubs could cover, but are not exclusive too; 

  • Informative learning sessions i.e. Hour of Code, Online safety, App design
  • Online Safety for parents or carers
  • Supporting the costs of childcare to enable a project to engage with teenage mothers.
  • Community outreach i.e. raising awareness and building bridges for new partnerships
  • To run an Inspiration / support event i.e. How digital can be used in youth social action, entrepreneurship, NCS programmes etc.

Our aim is to carry out this part of the programme in summer 2015 - grants will be up-to £300 per organisation to support community digital skills work. 

Up-to date information on the programme can be found at www.digitalyouthhubs.uk 

The support that has been provided by this Global Giving project to the IT Youth Hubs has enabled us to create a short film featuring some of the young people involved in the programme. You can view the film in the link below.  It has also enabled us to ensure that young IT Youth Hub young people are able to attend our UK Youth Voice National Youth Conference 12-14 July and we really hope that this will enable the young people who have taken part in the programme to use it as a platform to engage more widely with youth issues.


90 young people, plus 30 youth workers come to training for their IT peer education project….and see the future of technology!


In partnership with Microsoft, UK Youth is supporting 30 youth clubs to become IT Youth Hubs. Each Hub is receiving a technology makeover, with support from Microsoft. Young 'IT Champions' from each Hub will lead a peer education programme, leading to improved IT knowledge and access.


The first step

As the first major step in the project, a total of 90 ‘IT Champions’ and 30 youth workers took part in training sessions held in Edinburgh, Manchester, York, Birmingham, Exeter and London. The training covered three main themes:

  • Peer education: the morning session was devoted to supporting the ‘Champions’ in ‘spreading the word’ to their peers. The session included tips on engaging with their peers, plus important guidance on boundaries.
  • The future of IT: an inspirational input from Microsoft. To begin the discussion, a film (see below) showed some of the ways technology could change lives in a future of ‘invisible technology’!
  • Resources: most of the afternoon focused on the digital literacy toolkit UK Youth has developed for the Hubs to use. It is full of information and activities the peer educators can use ‘back home’. Everyone got the chance to try out activities. The session also covered the essentials of online safety.


“I thought the days worked well, as a way of preparing people for the work back home,” says Gary Brunskill, UK Youth’s National Projects Officer, who took part in all of the sessions. “On top of that, I felt everyone really valued the opportunity to get together. They feel part of something now and that’s a great motivator – and they know now that they can use each other for support as the project progresses.”


Back home

Fully briefed, the ‘IT Champions’ are back home planning for the future. Their first task will be to work with UK Youth and Microsoft to upgrade the clubs IT equipment. There is no ‘set package’, as every Hub is different – some have particular interests they want to develop, such as web design or improving computer access for deaf young people, while others are looking at how to integrate IT into their youth work practice.


The youth workers will be vital in ensuring the success of the project. Some are already knowledgeable in IT and have a ‘hands-on’ involvement, while for several of the projects, the young people are the IT experts and are taking the lead in deciding the equipment they need and the direction they want to go.

The next major staging post will be in August, when the IT Champions will be running workshops for other young people from across the country, where they will be sharing what they have learned along the way.


In the meantime, we will be posting updates on what the Hubs are up to.




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Organization Information

UK Youth

Location: Hampshire - United Kingdom
Website: http:/​/​www.ukyouth.org
Project Leader:
Gary Brunskill
London, United Kingdom

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