In the autumn of 2015, we launched an ambitious pilot programme in St Helens, Merseyside, to tackle Britain’s digital divide. Working closely with the Council, Chamber of Commerce, College and other partners, we delivered a three month programme to bring technological transformation to an entire town, including all of the businesses and people that live and work there.
Our goal? To show how digital engagement can really make a difference to a community.
The three month pilot reached more than 42,000 people in St Helens – nearly a quarter of the borough’s population. It helped improve the productivity of local businesses, increased people’s access to local services, and boosted young people’s confidence.
It wasn’t just about creating a feel-good factor. Research following the pilot estimates that if continued, the programme could generate an additional £46.3m for St Helens’ economy by 2020. That’s almost 11% additional growth compared with the current economic trajectory for the town.
So how did we achieve these great results?
This report explains what we did and how we did it, as well as showcasing the positive feedback we gathered from key stakeholders across the project. The study also gives insight and recommendations for the future of Digital Communities, and identifies 30 similar towns where the programme could have a significant impact. There’s huge potential – this activity could inject an additional £450m to the national economy by 2020. That’s growth we definitely want to be part of.
We hope you find the report interesting and useful. If you’d like to hear more, just contact the Digital Communities team on 01235 433 507.
Download our report to find out what's been happening.
“Our mission was to inspire a community and support its growth”