World News



British Queen celebrates


More than 11,000 digitally excluded Londoners have been helped to get online through free training in the last year, while thousands more have benefitted from

donated laptops and mobile phones, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced today.

An estimated 270,000 Londoners have no access to the internet or digital access at all, with a further two million having very limited use - for example those without their own device to get online, or those who can get online but have difficulty accessing online forms or internet banking 1. 

The Mayor and London Councils are working with digital inclusion charity Good Things Foundation and partners in the public and private sector to transform digital access in the city, a major concern identified by Londoners during the pandemic 2.  

Get Online London was launched last June as part of the Mayor and London Council’s digital access for all drive to ensure all Londoners can access digital skills and devices. In that time, the scheme has delivered free digital skills training to more than 10,000 Londoners and distributed nearly 2,000 laptops and mobiles and over 25,000 sim cards to help digitally-excluded Londoners access the internet. 

The programme – supported by the Mayor of London and the London Office of Technology & Innovation (LOTI) hosted by London Councils - brings together large public and private sector organisations to donate their old IT kit to national digital inclusion charity Good Things Foundation. Get Online London works with electronic recycle organisation Reconome to refurbish and then distribute the devices through participating community centres, known as hubs.  Major donors include London boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham and Redbridge, consulting firm BJSS, and Ready Tech Go.  

In the year since its launch, Get Online London campaign has delivered:

Free digital skills training for more than 11,000 Londoners: 6,040 free digital skills courses at local colleges and 5,446 people trained via digital skills platform Learn My Way 

1,845 refurbished, mobiles and laptops distributed to Londoners by Good Things Foundation’s Device Bank 

26,224 sim cards distributed to digitally excluded Londoners 

326 community centres have become Get Online London Digital Inclusion Hubs, connecting local people with basic digital skills courses. 

Today at the annual Celebrating Digital Inclusion Conference, Chief Digital Officer for London Theo Blackwell MBE confirmed additional funding from City Hall for the second and third year of the Get Online London service and called for more businesses to join the campaign to help get 75,000 Londoners online. As the programme develops, the focus will be on expanding its reach to more communities, including those who face multiple disadvantages such as poverty, disability and social isolation. The service will also provide specialised support to help these communities overcome the barriers to digital inclusion.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: "From arranging healthcare appointments to completing job applications, access to both services and to skills are increasingly dependent on our ability to get online. However, the sad reality is that many Londoners lack the confidence or resources to access technology. Get Online London is working to ensure all Londoners have the knowledge and tools they need to make the most of the internet.

“We’ve made great progress in the past year but there is still more to do. I’m calling on more large businesses and organisations to support us in our mission to provide digital access for all. Starting with getting 75,000 Londoners online and kickstarting a sustainable service to bridge the digital divide and help keep us connected. Together, we can build a fairer, more accessible and more prosperous London for all.”

Helen Milner OBE, Group Chief Executive from Good Things Foundation said: “I’m so proud to celebrate these milestones along with the continued support for Get Online London - London’s first ever digital inclusion service and thank The Mayor of London and the London Office of Technology and Innovation for working with Good Things Foundation to deliver it. It’s already tackling digital exclusion through the essential combined offer of devices, data and digital skills support - but with more than 1.6 million Londoners lacking basic digital skills - and 6% of London households without any internet-enabled device at all - we need to do more to help the most vulnerable people in our society connect with digital. That’s why I’m asking more businesses to join the campaign to help us achieve our target of supporting 75,000 Londoners to get online over the next 3 years. Together, we can help fix the digital divide - for good.”

Caspar Kennerdale, Managing Director at Clear Community Web, a Get Online London Digital Inclusion Hub in Upper Norwood, Southeast London, said: “Being part of Get Online London means that we've been able to receive devices through the London Device Bank and get them into the hands of our service users. Having a device that works, a device that people can take ownership with to build their digital skills has a huge impact. Getting this support from Get Online London means we’re helping more residents become more digitally included, access essential services, stay in contact with friends and family, and improve their life skills. It’s basic human rights. We'd like to thank The Mayor of London, the London Office of Technology and Innovation and Good Things Foundation for enabling us to deliver this service and connect people in our community.”

Genta Hajri, Digital Innovation Delivery Lead from London Office of Technology and Innovation said: “Thanks to the generosity of boroughs, private sector partners, and relentless efforts from community and voluntary sector organisations in partnership with Good Things Foundation, we’ve managed to have huge success in supporting digitally excluded Londoners. More funding means not only continued support for Londoners but more importantly for community organisations - the arteries of our communities.”

Cllr Jas Athwal, Leader of Redbridge Council, said: "Access to technology is more critical now than ever before to develop IT skills for education and employability and to connect with the world around us. This donation of 1,000 laptops will help transform lives, empowering people who have been digitally excluded to access the technology so many of us take for granted. It is vital that to supplement the efforts of local authorities; the government provide funding for digital training to help level up the playing field and address digital inequalities. This support would help some of London's most vulnerable people fulfil their potential."

Chris from West Norwood struggled with the digital world and only had access to a relative’s computer. Chris received his own device through Get Online London and said: “If you don't have access to this technology, you really are isolated in this day and age. If people do have a device that’s become outdated, those with my skill set will still find it useful. Instead of throwing it away, donate it so other people like me can have a go at it.”  Photo by Free Stock Photos, Wikimedia commons.