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Digital Champion Programme 2022-2026

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Technology helps us stay connected in an increasingly digital world. Our Digital Champion Programme provides support for older people to improve their digital skills through trained volunteers, as well as providing loan technology for those without access.

What is the Digital Champion Programme?

The Digital Champion Programme aims to tackle digital exclusion by recruiting and training Digital Champion volunteers, who will support older people to improve their digital skills, as well as providing loan technology to those without access. As our largest ever digital inclusion programme, we will be working with 50 Age UKs/Cymrus to support older people between 2022 and 2026. The programme will be delivered across two cohorts of 25 partners, each lasting 18 months.

The Digital Champion Programme combines four key services to address the common barriers to digital inclusion. Each Age UK/Cymru who is part of this programme will offer these services:

Digital Champions

Recruiting and supporting Digital Champion volunteers who'll inspire and motivate others to get online, and encourage and support them to develop their digital skills and confidence.

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Awareness raising activities

Reaching and informing people who are at risk of digital exclusion about how digital skills can help them personally, and motivate them to take part in the service.

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Digital skills sessions

Digital Champion-led sessions that help people to develop their digital skills and confidence by providing flexible, learner-led digital skills sessions that focus on what they’re most interested in.

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Provision of technology and connectivity

Providing loan technology and connectivity so that people who would otherwise not have access are able to ‘give it a go’ and see if it’s right for them.

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"The world's your oyster"

Meet Jean, Ruth and Dereck and find out what digital inclusion means for them.

Programme outcomes

By 2026, the Digital Champion Programme will have:

  • recruited and trained 600 volunteer Digital Champions
  • delivered awareness-raising activities to 120,000 older people to inspire and motivate them to get online
  • loaned technology to approximately 3,000 older people
  • assisted 15,000 older people through digital skills sessions to improve their digital confidence and develop new digital skills.

The outcomes of the Digital Champion Programme are led by the need in the community, balancing both the needs of individuals and those delivering the service. The Digital Champion Programme aims to achieve the following outcomes, both for the older people engaging with the service and for the organisation.

  1. Older people will feel more inspired and more motivated to get online.
  2. Older people will develop digital skills and confidence and gain longer-term access to technology equipment.
  3. Older people will feel less isolated and more socially connected.
  4. Volunteer Digital Champions will benefit from increased confidence and skills.
  5. Local Age UKs will be better equipped to provide a wide range of high-quality digital support to a greater number of older people.

The Digital Champion Programme model has been tried and tested by Age UK through our previous programmes One Digital, Think Digital, and Connected Age. With our new programme, we have further opportunities to:

  • provide loan devices and connectivity to people who would otherwise not have access
  • provide support over a longer period of time
  • focus some of the delivery on reaching and supporting older people who are at a higher risk of digital exclusion.

Supporting the older people most in need

We know that some older people are more at risk than others when it comes to digital exclusion, and therefore will focus some of our services on supporting those people most at risk. In addition to the 18 areas delivering to the general population of older people in Cohort 1, seven areas are focussing their service on supporting a specific high-risk group to get online.

Whilst the core elements of the programme largely remain the same when working with these high-risk groups, adaptations will likely need to be made to the programme model to make sure it remains accessible and impactful for those most in need. The Digital Champion Programme high-risk services will support older people:

  1. with dementia and/or memory loss
  2. on low incomes
  3. living alone
  4. with mobility challenges
  5. who are housebound.

Find a Digital Champion Programme near you – general group

Find a Digital Champion Programme near you – high-risk group

Past delivery areas

Evaluation and learning

The Digital Champion Programme is being formally evaluated.

This evaluation is taking advantage of a longer delivery period and focus on high-risk groups, as well as the general older population, and will take a deep dive into the:

  • sustainability of the model beyond the funded period
  • flexibility of the model, particularly supporting high-risk groups
  • medium-term (6-12 months) impact that the programme has on the wellbeing and loneliness of older learners.

The evaluation and other learnings from this programme will be made available on this webpage.

Find out more about the programme's first year of delivery

Download and read our first Digital Champion Programme report, which looks at key milestones and impact stories from the programme's first year of delivery. 

Read the Digital Champion Programme report here (PDF, 924 KB)

Thank you to our supporters

Age UK would like to acknowledge and thank our donors for their wonderful support that makes the Digital Champion Programme possible. Thanks to their commitment and benevolence, thousands of older people across the country will benefit from the programme.

Age UK is delighted that a charitable foundation, who wishes to remain anonymous, has made a significant pledge of support which is allowing us to expand the programme across England and Wales.

We also want to thank Santander and Currys, whose support and generosity are also helping to inspire and give confidence to older people to get online.

If you are, or know someone who is, interested in supporting this programme then please contact

How can I get more information?

If you have any questions about this programme, please email

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Last updated: Sep 26 2023

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