Announcing the opening of the first Sky Up Digital Hub, Sky’s Group CEO, Dana Strong, commented: “Digital connections can unlock opportunities for those who are most excluded. Sky Up will give people in need a chance to create a better future.”
Sky Up will deliver 100 new Digital Hubs, powered by Sky’s broadband network and partner with local charities in the heart of the community to provide free internet access and digital skills support. Sky Up’s first two Digital Hubs will be located in Hackney in East London, and Leeds in Yorkshire, and will be delivered in partnership with Badu Sports and Age UK respectively.
Alongside Sky’s ambition to create 100 new Digital Hubs, Sky Up will include:
- Sky Up Tech Grants – targeted to help young people between 16 and 25 who have left the care system to get and stay connected through a £550 individual grant. The recipients will receive a personal tech device pre-loaded with relevant software, an internet connection through Sky, and access to skills training.
- Through a major expansion of Sky Up Academy Studios, Sky aims to engage 20,000 students a year in its successful Academy Studios initiative which has already inspired 167,000 young people looking to work in the creative industries. The programme will be expanded to a new site at Sky Studios Elstree and will be taken on the road to communities across the UK through a new e-vehicle mobile studio.
Sky’s ambition is part of parent-company Comcast’s ‘Project UP’ – a comprehensive initiative to advance digital equity and build a future of unlimited possibilities. Backed by a $1 billion commitment to reach tens of millions of people over the next decade, Project UP encompasses the programs and community partnerships across our organisation that connect people to the internet, advance economic mobility, and open doors for the next generation.
The Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy, Chris Philp MP, said: “Everyone, no matter their age or background, should be able to enjoy the huge benefits of digital technology – from learning, entertainment, shopping and doing business. I welcome Sky’s ambitious skills programme to tackle digital exclusion and help thousands of people up and down the country access the growing benefits and opportunities of going online.”
Nana Badu, CEO and founder of Badu Sports, commented: “During lockdown we all truly understood the gap in digital equality for the most underserved communities. The new Sky Up digital studio in Hackney is an important solution to start closing that gap. We are delighted to be partnering with Sky who are seeking deeper impact when it comes to tackling digital inequality.”
Iain Anderson, CEO of Age UK Leeds, added: “We are very grateful for the support provided by Sky. This is a fantastic opportunity to support many older people to become digitally connected and to develop new skills. By having this facility, we will be better placed to reduce loneliness by enabling older people to remain socially connected and to assist them in accessing a range of services which are increasingly only available online.”