Sky partners with Age UK Stockport and Stockport Council to open first Sky Up Digital Hub in Greater Manchester

The Digital Hub will provide the community with access to digital devices, free wifi connection, and regular digital skills workshops to support people who are digitally excluded.

Sky partners with Age UK Stockport and Stockport Council to open first Sky Up Digital Hub in Greater Manchester

On Friday 16th June 2023, in partnership with Age UK Stockport, Stockport Council and Digital Inclusion alliance DigiKnow, Sky opened a new Digital Hub. The Hub provides access to digital devices, free Sky wifi connection and regular digital skills workshops, run by volunteers, to support over 1000 people in the local community.

In Stockport 20% of people are aged over 65 and 11,000 do not have access to the internet at home. According to Age UK, 40% of people over 65 across the country do not feel confident using a tablet device, largely due to a lack of digital skills and not having access to equipment and broadband.

Stockport’s new Digital Hub is the first to be established in Greater Manchester and is part of Sky’s plan to open 100 Digital Hubs in the UK & Ireland. Sky’s Digital Hubs roll-out sees up to £100,000 invested in each location, as part of its £10m Sky Up fund to tackle digital exclusion.

Fiona Ball, Group Director, Bigger Picture & Sustainability at Sky said:
“Sky is focused on helping people in Stockport unlock new opportunities with tools, skills and programmes that we provide through our new Digital Hub. With our partners, we are committed to tackling digital inequality, empowering people to get online and fulfil their potential.”

Margaret Brade, CEO at Age UK Stockport said:
“We're excited to announce the opening of our new digital hub in partnership with Sky Up and DigiKnow. We've worked with the amazing Sky volunteers and our local DigiKnow network for several years, helping people to gain the skills and confidence to get online safely and make the most of the services and opportunities available online.

"The greatest causes of digital exclusion are a lack of skills, a lack of trust, and not having a reliable internet connection and with the support of our partners and volunteers we can overcome all three. We can't wait to welcome people to this great new space, with free-to-use technology and connectivity and an exciting new programme of informal training sessions.”

Councillor Mark Hunter, Leader of Stockport Council, said:
"This new community hub is exciting news for Stockport and a fantastic free resource for residents. Stockport Council is delighted to support this collaboration between our local voluntary sector and business community, working together as partners to build a better future for everyone. We want everyone in Stockport to benefit from digital, and our DigiKnow network is working to ensure no one faces inequalities because they lack the skills, devices or data to get online. We're very grateful to Age UK Stockport and Sky for their investment in this hub to help those most at risk of being digitally excluded."

Councillor Jilly Julian, Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, said:
"We're very proud of our DigiKnow network and would like to thank all the DigiKnow partners and volunteers who support residents across the borough. They do amazing work helping people to become confident using the internet in ways that benefit them every day. From staying connected to others, to improving health and wellbeing, saving money, and accessing employment possibilities. If you're not online yet, I'd encourage you to come down to the Sky Up digital support hub."

In 2022, Sky launched its ambition to tackle digital inequality with a three-part initiative providing support to a quarter of a million digitally excluded people through a dedicated £10m fund. The programme was created to ensure that groups who are most at risk of digital exclusion - under 25s in under-served communities and over 65s - are provided with the skills they need to succeed. Sky Up aims to deliver 100 new Digital Hubs around the UK and Ireland to provide digital resources that support the most vulnerable communities.

Age UK Stockport and Sky are part of the DigiKnow network of over 60 groups and organisations in Stockport who help people to improve their digital skills, use devices and get connected to online services, even if they don’t have access to a computer at home.