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Fri, 14 Jul



Addressing Digital Poverty: A City Divided

A call to action to address the digital divide in Bath and ensure all our young people have equal access to technology.

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Addressing Digital Poverty: A City Divided
Addressing Digital Poverty: A City Divided

Time & Location

14 Jul 2023, 10:00 – 12:00

Bath, 4-5 Chapel Row, Bath BA1 1SQ, UK

About the Event

During the festival we will have mapped the Bath Digital Divide and run a tech community challenge to hack a solution to an aspect of the problem we see.

This final event of the festival week in our Digital Divide series will bring together a discussion with Wera Hobhouse, the Liberal Democrat MP for Bath and Julia Adamson, BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT MD for Education and Public Benefit and with a mission to give every young person the digital skills they need to succeed in life and work.

This session will present what we know, the map of the digital divide in Bath with a call to action for city-wide focus to address the issue.

Following the discussion, we will showcase the outputs from our hackathon, looking to address the immediate problem of connectivity advice for families lacking affordable and reliable internet access.

Digital Poverty

You’re far less likely to have access to the online world if you’re living on a low income. In fact, the lower your income the less likely it is. That means – increasingly so – not having access to the fundamentals of life. From social security, to healthcare, education and training, to finding work and applying for jobs – critical services are more and more online.

So digital inclusion is no longer something that’s ‘nice to have’ – it’s an essential. And being cut off from digital isn’t just an inconvenience – it compounds and exacerbates poverty. That’s no longer something we can ignore if we’re interested in a just society. (Digital Poverty Alliance (DPA)).

In May 2023 the DPA launched the National Delivery Plan, which “outlines an initial roadmap for ending digital poverty by 2030”.

Mission Six of that plan is “Increase local capacity to provide joined-up digital inclusion support to individuals and communities”; while we now have a national plan that aims to fix this issue in our society, it is on us locally in the tech sector to step up and play a part in acting on and delivering the outcomes of that plan.

The situation in Bath

Bath is included in the affectionately coined “Silicon Gorge” (Wikipedia, 2019) which describes our region’s high density of technology expertise and innovation. Bath and North East Somerset Council (BANES) is ranked in the 2019 Indices of Deprivation as one of the 20% most affluent areas in the country (BANES, 2022).

However this average measure disguises the fact that Whiteway and Twerton West are among the 10% most deprived areas in England. In Twerton, 35% of children live in poverty (BANES, 2019) and the cost of living crisis is expected to result in 4,000 more people in BANES entering poverty in 2023 (BANES, 2022). 52% of people surveyed in BANES complained about their broadband connection (BANES, 2022).

As employment requires more digital skills, and access to key services moves towards digitisation, these statistics indicate a significant likelihood of persistent exclusion for many of Bath’s citizens.

Related events addressing the Digital Divide during the Bath Digital Festival

At the opening of the festival, our first event as a new Bath Digital Divide Collective will map the digital divide in Bath, if you'd like to join this event, sign up here.

After this event we will kick-off our hackathon, bringing our tech community together to address an aspect of our digital divide challenge challenge. One challenge we know exists already is access to the internet at home via an affordable, reliable and appropriate connection varies across our area. Sign up to take part.

Together we can bridge the digital divide.

Bath Digital Divide Collective

The newly formed Bath Digital Divide Collective is comprised of representation across the following founding members, of course welcoming a much wider community to address our city-wide challenge:

Bath BID

Bath Bridge

Bath Unlimited

BCS Digital Divide BCS Bristol & Bath Branch

Digital Poverty Alliance

Dot Project

Future Ambition Board - Connectivity Working Group, and Opportunity for All Group


Tech for Good South West

The House

St Johns Foundation

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