Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Tackling digital exclusion - Impact on Urban Health

Research and Development

Tackling digital exclusion

With Promising Trouble

Key partnership information 

Partner: Promising Trouble

Funding amount: £23,612.50

Duration: December 2021 – March 2022

Programme: Research and Development

What we’re doing together 

As more of our lives are lived out online so too are our health services, but those without reliable internet often struggle to access the services they need.  

For those disproportionately affected by poor health outcomes, being digitally excluded becomes a barrier to good health and can have wider impacts such as limiting access to employment opportunities or welfare support.  

Digital exclusion affects many working age adults as well as older people and manifests itself in ways much broader than connectivity. Affordability, skills, and trust are all factors in allowing people to feel comfortable online to better their health. 

We’re exploring different approaches to improve digital access and ensure people are digitally included. We’ve been working with ClearView Research to explore what digital inclusion means for communities in Lambeth and Southwark, as well as Community TechAid to work out how we can deliver the best interventions to make a difference.  

We’re now working in partnership with Promising Trouble to look at how to take a systemic approach to promoting digital inclusion, starting with broadening access to internet connectivity.   

Aims of the partnership 

This project aims to explore how to address digital exclusion for people who cannot afford internet access.  

We will identify what best practice looks like in providing free internet access to communities in ways that work for them, taking into account the learnings from various models rolled out across the world which offer community-owned Wi-Fi. This will look beyond technology and infrastructure to also consider other potential challenges of getting people online, such as skills, awareness, and motivation. 

We’ll then share these learnings with anyone interested in tackling the issue of digital exclusion, including internet providers, local governments, councils, housing associations, and the healthcare sector. 

Connection to our strategy 

Digital exclusion affects health outcomes both directly and indirectly: 

  • Directly: through limiting access to health services run on digital platforms. The NHS is increasingly moving health services online – for example, outpatient and primary care appointments are now often delivered online.
  • Indirectly: by impacting broader social determinants of health such as preventing people from making applications for welfare support, limiting their access to finding employment opportunities and support services, and causing social isolation to name just a few.
    This exclusion can further exacerbate health inequalities, increasing the risk of disease, causing stress, and negatively impacting mental health. 

We know from our research into the nature of digital exclusion in our place that affordability is a significant issue, so we are beginning by prioritising projects related to affordable connectivity. 

More about Promising Trouble

Promising Trouble specialise in policy development, training and prototyping that helps technology work for more of us, more of the time.

Visit Promising Trouble's website
Stephanie Woodrow

Have questions about our partnership with Promising Trouble?

Stephanie Woodrow is our Portfolio Manager who is leading this partnership.

Contact Stephanie