Clean Slate has joined forces with Mastercard and Lloyds Banking Group to tackle digital and financial exclusion across the UK.
The move is part of the Nobody In The Dark campaign, which was first launched in November 2020.
Since then, more national lockdowns have seen a rapid shift to digital, meaning those who were already struggling to get online are being left further behind.
Now with Lloyds on board, there is a renewed focus on helping people on low incomes to use digital tools to manage their finances, use medical services and connect with loved ones.
Lloyds found that despite rapid digitalisation since March 2020, there is still a huge disparity in access to digital services. The Lloyds Bank UK Consumer Digital Index 2021 survey found those with a household income of £50,000 or more, are 40 per cent more likely to be able to carry out basic digital tasks than those earning less than £17,499. It also revealed that the highest proportion of internet non-users are in Wales, the East Midlands and the North East of England.
The Nobody in the Dark campaign will offer personalised, face-to-face support to digitally and financially excluded people from 18 centres across the UK in locations such as Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, and Swansea.
Jeff Mitchell, Founder of Clean Slate Training & Employment CIC, said:
“The people we work with simply don’t have the same opportunities as those who are digitally connected. Programmes like these are vitally important to ensuring we build a fair society where people can provide fully for themselves and their families. The roll out gives us an opportunity to make some positive progress following a year that has been especially hard for those in lower income brackets, making sure they are not further behind when everyone else is getting ahead.”
This new drive builds on the success of a 2020 pilot, which reached hundreds of people across the UK. Users learned how to take simple steps like changing utility providers and accessing financial services.
Back in November Mastercard lit up tower blocks in London and Bristol for 19 minutes 40 seconds to represent the 19.4 million Britons* who feel in the dark due to digital and financial exclusion made worse by the pandemic. (*Source: YouGov)
The coalition behind Nobody in the Dark, which also includes Good Things Foundation, offers a free self-service web hub, nobodyinthedark.co.uk, which signposts online support about money and digital skills like online safety, and links to a pilot service developed by Clean Slate to help people ‘future-proof’ their finances.