New digital skills programme is something to shout about

Scores of families are becoming more tech-savvy thanks to the Foundation of Light’s partnership with Shout.

A digital skills programme has been created in collaboration between Sunderland AFC’s official charity and our team. The course is giving people greater confidence to use technology and access everyday online services.

New digital skills programme is something to shout about

The course is aimed at parents, and will explore the way digital experiences are impacting life. The course covers screen time, online safety best practices and responsible behaviour on social media. Participants will be given tools and prompts to start conversations at home with their children as part of their learning.

Smart phones, tablets and laptops are very much a part of everyday life. Yet the North East continues to lag behind other regions in evaluations of internet use and digital skills.

Despite a push to provide hardware such as laptops to those most in need, digital exclusion is still an issue for many young families. A lack of skills can make access to services and learning more difficult. People may even be vulnerable to disinformation and fraud.

Foundation of Light’s Stay Safe Online programme addresses these issues. To date the programme has run as a pilot in 3 schools, with 4 already signed up for the next term – and space for 6 more. The scheme has the potential to support 300 North East families with a safer and more satisfying relationship to the digital world.

Catherine Watson, Foundation of Light’s Family Learning Tutor, coordinates the Stay Safe Online programme. She is extremely pleased with feedback from the course so far:

“It’s great to see the impact our teaching is having. Activities many of us may take for granted, like accessing social media every day or checking our online bank, can be very intimidating for others.

“Introducing families to these familiar online scenarios and teaching them how to manage them safely is the key focus of the programme. It’s really rewarding to see peoples’ confidence growing over the weeks.”

The Shout Digital team have applied their industry insights to enhance the programme and have been in attendance at sessions to see the work in action.

Cat McGinty, Shout’s Marketing Manager, commented:

“We love to help people get the most from their digital experiences and being able to navigate this world effectively needs particular skills. It’s been great to see first hand the programme supporting people with differing levels of digital skills. We’ve really enjoyed hearing the participants sharing their experiences and tips with each other, like how they navigate digital boundaries with their kids.”

As well as supporting the digital skills programme, Shout Digital worked with the Foundation to identify their digital strategy and developed web platforms for both Foundation of Light and Beacon of Light. The improved online experience helps supporters get involved with their wide range of programmes, events and services.

For more information about the Foundation, visit

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