New charity launched to bring the net to more people

By Gemma Quainton, Third Sector Online, 25 April 2012

Martha Lane Fox

Martha Lane Fox

Age UK and the Big Lottery Fund are part of Go ON UK, set up by the digital champion Martha Lane Fox

Age UK and the Big Lottery Fund have joined a a new charity that will work to get more people online.

Go ON UK has been set up by Martha Lane Fox, the UK’s digital champion, to bring the benefits of the internet to every individual and organisation across the UK. A spokeswoman said today it had received confirmation of its charitable status from the Charity Commission yesterday.

The BBC, power company E.ON, the Lloyds Banking Group, the Post Office and mobile phone provider TalkTalk are the other founding partners. They are hoping to boost the digital capability of UK charities, small-to-medium enterprises and the UK’s 8.2 million adults who do not have access to the internet.

The charity was launched at an event in London last night. Lane Fox said: "We want to spread the benefits of the internet to those who aren’t online. This is a really important and interesting organisation, and it will be independent because it will be funded predominantly by the commercial sector.

Go ON UK follows on from Race Online 2012, which was set up in 2010 as a short-term campaign aimed at getting more people online for the first time.

"Go ON UK is a very different organisation with a broader remit to include building the capacity of organisations as well as individuals," said Lane Fox. "The charity sector is facing unprecedented funding cuts and rising demand for services," said Lane Fox.

"Working with charities to use technology to deliver the best services possible for end users and take the cost out of their business has never been more urgent. Failing to act now would result in charities and small businesses operating at a significant disadvantage as the rest of the UK becomes increasingly digital."

Tom Wright, group chief executive of Age UK, said of the partnership: "We believe that Go ON UK offers a fantastic opportunity for influential members of the public, private and third sectors to come together and help get everyone online, regardless of age or experience of technology."

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