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Digital Inclusion Fund 2023

Find out more about the Digital Inclusion Fund 2023 and how to apply.

Last updated: 21 March 2023

Next review: 16 March 2024

In 2023 we launched an ambitious Digital Inclusion Strategy and programme to tackle the personal, structural, and financial barriers that prevent residents from engaging with digital technology.

We see digital inclusion as a key to building resilience during the cost-of-living crisis and an important asset to our response to health inequalities. We want to ensure that every resident has the skills, tools and support needed to thrive in an increasingly digital world. 

The Digital Inclusion Fund

We are welcoming applications to our Digital Inclusion Fund from community groups active in the borough delivering projects designed to improve the digital inclusion of residents across the borough.

Community groups can apply for funding between £1000 and £9,999 to deliver targeted projects to improve digital skills and provide support for local communities with a focus on those at risk of digital exclusion.

Outcomes from projects funded through the Digital Inclusion Fund will be used to inform our longer-term strategy, with the potential for particularly successful results to be scaled up across the borough.

The deadline to complete applications is 11:59pm on Monday 10th April.

If you require this form in a different format you can request it

Timeline for the fund

  • Monday 10 April: Deadline for applications 
  • By 21 April: You will receive our decision on your application 
  • May 2023 to February 2024: Successful candidates will deliver their projects

Drop in sessions for applicants

If you want to discuss your application, we will be hosting a series of drop-in sessions for Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) groups:

All sessions will take place online on Microsoft Teams, please use the links provided above to sign up for the session at a time that suits you.

Who can apply

Applications are accepted from any constituted voluntary, community group working with residents in the London Borough of Waltham Forest. 

Eligible organisations include:

  • Voluntary or community organisations
  • Registered charities 
  • Constituted groups 
  • Community interest companies 
  • Social Enterprise 

Organisations not eligible to apply include 

  • Individuals 
  • Sole traders 
  • Organisations not operating in Waltham Forest 
  • Organisations that are aimed at generating profits for private distribution

What we can fund

Applications can be submitted for between £1,000 and £9,999 of funding.

The Digital Inclusion Fund can be used to help with the associated costs to run your project, such as venue hire, equipment and computer software, staff time, or publicity materials. We cannot cover core and overhead organisation costs unless such costs can be specifically attributed to the project applied for.

We are able to provide some funding for equipment, provided that the full amount of the grant is not used solely to cover the cost of equipment, and the following criteria are met:

  1. A clear demonstration of the need for the items and that equipment will be used primarily for digital inclusion
  2. The equipment must be made available for the community benefit and cannot be purchased to benefit an individual;
  3. There is somewhere safe and secure to store the equipment and it will be insured (you may apply for insurance costs)

Applications must meet the following criteria:

  • Projects must start in May 2023 and complete within 10 months of receipt of funding
  • All activities must take place within Waltham Forest
  • Projects must have a component of embedded Digital Champions (Training package provided by Waltham Forest Council)

Projects can be 100% from this fund – no match funding is required, and groups do not need to demonstrate supplementary funding sources

Our funding priorities

Projects must demonstrate the impact they will have among target groups on one or more of the following areas:

  • Essential Digital Skills for Life: communicating, handling information and content, transacting, problem solving, being safe and legal online
  • Motivation, Confidence and Trust in using technology and the internet
  • Access to devices such as laptops
  • Access to data, either through mobile data or home internet.

We encourage applicants to:

  • Consider how their project can scale in the future
  • Think creatively about the way they approach embedding or enhancing digital inclusion within their existing offer.

Examples of projects that may be funded through the Digital Inclusion Fund are:

  • A regular cooking class for older adults that deploys a Digital Champion to introduce online cooking tutorials, how to find recipes online, or how to use word processing tools to write, save and share recipes with family online.
  • A local community centre supporting low-income families, creating regular drop-in sessions supported by trained Digital Champion volunteers, to provide support in accessing council services online and internet safety skills  
  • A local sport club holds a weekly intergenerational coffee morning for members and their families aimed at using online games and sport to build online confidence and safety. The sessions are supported by Digital Champions and each week focuses on a different digital tool that can be used in their everyday life or to find sport information online.
  • A local group supporting residents with English as a second language, deploying a bilingual trained Digital Champion to assist residents with apps and online tools to improve their English language skills.

We will aim to distribute funding equally to communities based across Waltham Forest, however priority will be given to projects which engage groups of residents most at risk of having low digital skills and access. These include:

  • Older adults aged 65 and above
  • People with a disability or long-term health condition
  • Working age residents receiving other services such as Universal Credit
  • Low-income families
  • Carers and care leavers
  • Those in Temporary Accommodation and Homeless populations
  • People with low literacy
  • People who have English as a Second Language

Digital Champions

We would like each project to be supported by Digital Champions.

Digital Champions are volunteers who are trained to help service users to develop their digital skills, build confidence and make the most of the internet and digital tools. 

We expect that your existing volunteers will become Digital Champions, or you may choose to recruit new volunteers, especially for this role. We encourage you to think about the variety of different ways you can embed champions into your service.

To help you embed Digital Champions in your project delivery, we will provide a free license to full Digital Champion training courses and resources as well as membership to a national Digital Champions Network. 

Conditions of the grant

  1. This grant cannot be used to fund any shortfall in existing service delivery.
  2. Funding cannot be used for any back-dated costs encountered before the start of the funded initiative.
  3. This is a one-off amount and there is no assurance provided for any additional or continuing funds.
  4. A clear audit trail and record of spending must be maintained as agreed upon in accordance with good financial governance processes.
  5. Recipients must have all relevant policies and procedures in place required in order to undertake the project (e.g., safeguarding policy).


All successful applicants must hold the following level of insurance:

  • Employers Liability: £5,000,000 for any one claim or series of claims arising out of any one occurrence
  • Public Liability: £5,000,000 for any one claim or series of claims arising out of any one occurrence
  • Professional Indemnity (only necessary if your project includes the provision of training or advice) £2,000,000 for any one claim or series of claims arising out of any one occurrence

Reporting requirements

During project delivery recipients of the grant will be expected to provide reporting on:

  • Number and demographic information on beneficiaries of the project
  • Number of Digital Inclusion Champions trained and deployed
  • Number of group or one-to-one sessions delivered
  • Impact the project had on participants (including self-reported skills and case studies)

Funding recipients will be expected to provide monthly top line reporting as well an in-depth midpoint project review as well as a final report.

Funding recipients may be required to participate in a post-funding interview workshop with a member of our evaluation partner, Public Perspectives.