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Funding received to get digitally excluded young people online

CEO Emma Scarcliffe

Bridges Project is excited about the prospect of facilitating the digital inclusion of a whole generation of disadvantaged local young people following a £24,600 grant from the Musselburgh Area Partnership to create an IT & Education Suite.

The grant was awarded at a Musselburgh Area Partnership meeting this month (February 2021) and will be a major contributor to Bridges Project’s new GetConnected initiative, which will aim to provide digital access and skills to digitally excluded young people.

The IT & Education Suite will be built within Bridges Project’s premises and will be an age-appropriate, user-friendly Suite that will offer local young people with limited digital access and skills the opportunity to use computers and tablets and receive mentoring in digital skills. This will include assistance with applications for housing, Universal Credit, college, jobs, and other day-to-day applications that require digital access and basic digital skills. As well as this, the Suite will enable Bridges Project to improve young people’s experience of our existing learning programmes in addition to enabling us to deliver larger learning groups. We also hope that the facility can be utilised by other local organisations that work with digitally excluded young people.

Iain Clark, Chair of Musselburgh Area Partnership, said: “The Musselburgh Area Partnership looks to provide support and engage with local partners who will help meet our aim of reducing inequalities and raising attainment and achievement in our community. Having read and heard in detail about the Bridges Project initiative GetConnected, our members happily agreed to fund this project, which we feel will have a very positive impact on young people in our community. We look forward to updates on the progress of the project as it moves forward”.

Stuart Baxter, East Lothian Council Connected Communities Manager for the Musselburgh Area, said: “This project helps the Musselburgh Area Partnership focus on reducing inequalities as well as addressing priorities within the East Lothian Plan. I would also like to acknowledge the financial support from East Lothian Council that underpins the work of the Area Partnership to fund initiatives that address priorities within their local community and I wish the Bridges Project every success in their new GetConnected initiative.”

Bridges Project hopes the IT & Education Suite will reduce the digital inclusion gap experienced by many young people in the local community. It will provide digitally excluded young people with better access to digital infrastructure and help them develop the confidence and digital skills they need to enter the digital world and access vital services. They will also learn essential digital skills for the world of work and raise their educational attainment. Bridges Project is confident these factors will all increase young people’s life chances.

Our CEO, Emma Scarcliffe, said: “This money is life changing for us as an organisation but, more importantly, will be life changing for hundreds of marginalised, vulnerable and isolated young people who will access the IT and Education Suite for years to come. The opportunities are incredible with this project. Young people will have raised aspirations, achieve numerous accredited qualifications, improve their IT skills, develop confidence and self-belief, secure further training and employment opportunities, gain specialised support at Bridges Project and so much more. The list is literally endless.”

 “We look forward to working collaborative with the Musselburgh Area Partnership and all of our existing and new partners to improve the educational and employability outcomes of generations for years to come.”

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