Osborne Clarke and UK Youth select 20 successful community organisations supporting young people at risk of digital exclusion

As part of its partnership with UK Youth, Osborne Clarke is proud to announce it has chosen 20 community groups that will receive multi-year grants to address the lack of digital skills and resources for young people over the next three years.

According to the European Union [1], demand for digital skills is expected to increase more than any other area by 2030, with many hopes pinned on young people to lead the ‘digital jobs of the future’. But a recent 2021 report [2] finds 42% – or six million young people – don’t have access to either a suitable device or home broadband.

“Across the country millions of young people depend on charities for support, but increased demand combined with chronic underfunding means many are missing out on building essential skills. As a business, we ultimately benefit when young people are better prepared to enter the workforce. So we feel investing our resources in our local communities to help young people develop their digital skills, which will set them up for the future, is the right thing to do,” said Bola Gibson, Head of Inclusion and Corporate Responsibility at Osborne Clarke.

Vicky Chenery, Head of Partnerships and Philanthropy at UK Youth, said: “We’re delighted to have selected the 20 grantees that will benefit from Osborne Clarke’s grant funding. This multi-year funding will allow these organisations to make a long-term, sustainable improvement to their digital offering and access to technology for the young people that they serve, providing life-changing support to the young people that need it most at a critical time.”

The long-term grants will be distributed over the next three years to support the community groups in addressing local needs. Most of the successful grantees are based in the communities where Osborne Clarke operates – with 15 youth organisations across London, Bristol and Reading receiving funding.

The funding has also been targeted at the most concerning digital cold spots across the country where digital skills and resources are most in need, and the firm will also support five youth organisations in and around Manchester, Birmingham and Middlesborough.

As further sign of the firm’s commitment to boosting digital skills, Osborne Clarke is supporting the successful community groups with pro bono and volunteering support where it can.

The funding will be used in a myriad of ways including for skills development (both for young people and staff), additional resources, hardware equipment, creation of digital resources, software, wifi/data and impact evaluation.

One successful grantee The Open Blue Trust, a youth charity based in Manchester, uses a converted double decker bus as a mobile community centre for young people struggling with rural poverty. David Sandberg said the charity will use the funding to install mobile Wi-Fi as well as purchasing hardware for the young people to use on the bus.

“We hope to run internet safety courses for the young people. We want to teach young people how to use technology so it serves them and is a resource to them. We also want to teach them what a fantastic resource the internet is, how to use it sensibly and how to avoid the dangers,” said David.

Being a responsible and ethical business and employer underpins Osborne Clarke’s business strategy. The Osborne Clarke For Good framework is the firm’s way of ensuing it’s a good corporate citizen, a good employer and a good business.

For the full list of youth charities receiving grants over the next three years, please visit: Osborne Clarke – UK Youth.


Krunch – Work out of the Pod which is based at the local skate park, offering a café and a youth zone. They offer activities four evenings a week, all of which provide food and include: creative activities, games nights, support with getting into work, digital access, Prince’s Trust Achieve programme, cooking, bushcraft sessions and skating.

The Open Blue Trust – The Open Blue Trust looks to build community for those struggling with rural poverty and isolation. They use a converted double deck bus as a mobile community centre, with activities such as carer groups, afterschool clubs and youth drop ins. The bus provides a safe, warm space to those young people and through this detached youthwork The Open Blue Trust is able to offer positive activities and conversation.

Smash Youth Project – Smash Youth Project work with young people aged nine to 16 across all of Swindon, running mentoring sessions five days a week after school for young people referred by their schools and social workers. Mentoring sessions may include discussions around topics like wellbeing, family, their future and relationships.

Swansea Music Art Digital – Swansea MAD is a grassroots charity that provides safe spaces for young people to access advocacy, creative arts, education, digital technology, employability support, campaigning activities and projects to bring fairness and belonging. They offer sessions focused on music production, coding, software and hardware systems, and film making. They do also deliver basic digital literacy skills sessions.

The RISE Trust (Youth team) – The Rise Trust delivers outreach youth work across North Wiltshire and runs youth clubs in different locations. Once young people have been approached by youth workers during outreach activities, they are then invited to attend sessions at the youth club. The youth club offers a safe space and sessions including wellbeing activities, LGBTQ+ awareness, mental health support and sessions on exploring healthy relationships.

Youth Moves – Youth Moves are a youth charity providing a wide range of services to young people in South Bristol aged eight to 18. Their services include open access youth clubs, street based and schools based youth work, music programmes, environmental work, sports and wellbeing sessions, small group support sessions, one-to-one mentoring, and ‘youth voice’, an initiative providing young people with a platform and the skills to have their views aired.