IFB Gaming


Bridging the Digital Divide: Exploring Data Poverty and Its Impact

Data poverty refers to the lack of access to adequate data connectivity, digital devices, and digital literacy skills needed to fully participate in the digital world. It encompasses various dimensions of inequality and exclusion related to access to and use of digital technologies.

People experiencing data poverty may face barriers to accessing essential online services, educational resources, job opportunities, healthcare information, and social connections. Data poverty can exacerbate existing inequalities and limit individuals’ ability to fully benefit from digital technologies for personal, social, and economic development.

Data Poverty is a Facet of Digital Inclusion

Hannah Whelan (Good Things Foundation)

Data Poverty is often closely linked to broader issues of digital inclusion and the digital divide, highlighting the need for efforts to address disparities in access to digital resources and opportunities.

The impact of data poverty is profound and multifaceted, affecting individuals, communities, and societies in various ways:

  1. Limited Access to Information and Opportunities: Data poverty restricts access to vital information, resources, and opportunities available online. Individuals experiencing data poverty may struggle to access educational materials, job listings, healthcare services, and government resources, limiting their ability to make informed decisions and participate fully in economic, social, and civic life.
  2. Economic Disadvantage: Data poverty perpetuates economic disparities by hindering access to online job opportunities, e-commerce platforms, and digital financial services. Without access to digital tools and resources, individuals may face barriers to entrepreneurship, remote work, and financial inclusion, further widening the gap between the digitally empowered and the digitally excluded.
  3. Educational Inequality: Data poverty exacerbates educational inequalities by limiting access to online learning resources, virtual classrooms, and educational platforms. Students without reliable internet connectivity or digital devices may struggle to complete homework assignments, access course materials, or participate in distance learning programs, perpetuating the cycle of educational disadvantage.
  4. Healthcare Disparities: In the digital age, access to healthcare information, telemedicine services, and digital health tools is crucial for promoting health and well-being. Data poverty can exacerbate healthcare disparities by limiting access to online health resources, telehealth consultations, and digital health monitoring devices, particularly in underserved and remote communities.
  5. Social Isolation and Exclusion: Data poverty can contribute to social isolation and exclusion by limiting access to social networking platforms, virtual communities, and online communication tools. Individuals without internet connectivity or digital literacy skills may struggle to stay connected with family and friends, participate in social activities, or access support networks, leading to feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  6. Digital Rights and Citizenship: Data poverty undermines digital rights and citizenship by limiting individuals’ ability to exercise their rights online, such as freedom of expression, access to information, and privacy protection. Without access to digital tools and resources, individuals may be disenfranchised from participating in digital democracy, engaging in online activism, or advocating for their rights in digital spaces.

Tackling data poverty is important for several reasons:

  1. Promoting Digital Inclusion: Access to digital connectivity, devices, literacy and skills are essential for full participation in the digital economy and society. By addressing data poverty, you can promote digital inclusion and ensure that everyone has equal opportunities to access and benefit from digital technologies.
  2. Reducing Inequality: Data poverty disproportionately affects marginalised and disadvantaged groups, exacerbating existing inequalities. By closing the gap in access to digital resources, we can reduce socio-economic disparities and promote greater equity in access to education, healthcare, employment, and other essential services.
  3. Fostering Economic Development: Access to digital technologies is increasingly important for economic participation and growth. By empowering individuals and communities with digital skills and resources, we can unlock new economic opportunities, stimulate innovation, and drive economic development.
  4. Improving Education and Lifelong Learning: Digital technologies have the potential to revolutionise education and lifelong learning by providing access to online resources, courses, and educational tools. Tackling data poverty ensures that learners of all ages have access to quality educational resources and opportunities for skill development.
  5. Enhancing Healthcare Access and Well-being: Digital technologies can improve access to healthcare information, telemedicine services, and health monitoring tools, particularly in remote and underserved areas. By addressing data poverty, you can enhance healthcare access and promote better health outcomes for individuals and communities.
  6. Facilitating Social Connections and Community Engagement: Digital connectivity enables individuals to connect with others, participate in social networks, and engage in community activities. By tackling data poverty, you can strengthen social connections, foster community engagement, and reduce social isolation, particularly among seniors and vulnerable and marginalised populations.
  7. Empowering Individuals and Communities: Access to digital technologies empowers individuals and communities to access information, express themselves, advocate for their rights, and participate in decision-making processes. By addressing data poverty, you can empower people to exercise their digital rights and participate more fully in democratic processes.

The impact of data poverty is far-reaching and intersects with various dimensions of inequality and exclusion. Addressing data poverty requires comprehensive strategies aimed at improving digital infrastructure, promoting digital literacy, and ensuring equitable access to digital resources and opportunities for all individuals and communities.

By tackling data poverty, we can build a more inclusive and equitable digital society where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. Tackling data poverty is essential for building inclusive and equitable societies, promoting economic development, and harnessing the transformative potential of digital technologies for the benefit of all.

IFB Gaming Joins Future Dot Now Coalition

Our commitment is to elevate digital inclusion and eradicate data poverty and we recognise that this endeavour requires a collective effort beyond any single expert, organisation, government, or community. Hence, we are proud to announce that we are now an active member of the Future Dot Now coalition and will align our tangible and intangible resources and objectives with the alliance to eradicate digital inclusion and data poverty from the UK.

The pandemic has underscored the urgency of our mission, signalling that traditional methods may no longer suffice during technology adoption maturity and beyond.

Future Dot Now is a coalition of forward-thinking organisations dedicated to enhancing essential digital skills in the UK’s workforce. The coalition is spearheaded by Liz Williams MBE who is also the Founder and Chief Executive of Future Dot Now. There are currently 133 members in the coalition, including esteemed organisations such as Good Things Foundation, IBM, Microsoft, Lloyds Banking Group, DWP, Nationwide Building Society, and PwC.

We are honoured to be a part of this dynamic coalition.

EDS Framework by Future Dot Now
Essential Digital Skills Framework (Credit: Future Dot Now)

Fostering a digitally-enabled culture is pivotal to our nation’s success. As members of the Future Dot Now coalition, we aim to contribute valuable insights while benefiting from the expertise of other esteemed organisations within the coalition.

(Future Dot Now)

About IFB Gaming

IFB, an acronym for International Friends Bureau, is a hybrid bridge and connector research and learning organisation focused on the intersection of play, lifelong learning and digital exclusion.

What Membership in the Coalition Means to IFB Gaming

Given our unique positioning as a bridge research and learning organisation researching in English communities, affiliation with the coalition aligns with our mission in several ways:

  1. Support from Digital Inclusion Leaders: We anticipate garnering support from prominent individuals and organisations actively engaged in digital inclusion initiatives in England and Wales.
  2. Knowledge Exchange: Participating in the coalition allows us to share our insights and gain fresh perspectives and expertise specifically tailored to digital inclusion.
  3. Advocating Gamification: We intend to advocate for the benefits of gamification and emerging trends within the coalition.
  4. Awareness Initiatives: We aim to create awareness programs highlighting the myriad applications available to Third Sector organisations and community groups.
  5. Strategic Partnerships: Collaborative efforts within the coalition will contribute to strengthening the UK’s position through strategic partnerships within the Commonwealth.
  6. Promotion of Digital Skills Framework: We are committed to promoting the Essential Digital Skills Framework within BAME communities, starting from the grassroots level.
  7. Community Engagement: We will facilitate volunteering opportunities within the community and offer free or affordable workplace digital training and products to coalition members.

The Essential Digital Skills (EDS) Framework, outlined above, delineates five key skills and provides examples of tasks that individuals should master to demonstrate competence in each skill. Notably, the fifth skill—being safe, legal, and confident online—is interwoven across the other four.

The pandemic has accentuated existing gaps and exposed new challenges. It is evident that while there are numerous efforts underway in UK communities aimed at fostering a prosperous, connected, equitable, and sustainable digital economy, much of this work operates in isolation, often lacking proper documentation and alignment with systemic structures.

We firmly believe that a robust, comprehensive, and cyclical strategy is now imperative, one that is firmly grounded in strategic partnerships and driven from the grassroots and the policy (bottom-up-top-down), with a focus on empowering individuals and communities.

According to the City of London News Room, the UK is leading the digital revolution, with technology, media, and creative businesses outpacing the broader economy in terms of growth. Nevertheless, the rapid pace of change is leaving a significant portion of our population behind:

  • 53% of UK employees lack the essential digital skills necessary for the workplace.
  • 4.1 million adults in the UK remain ‘offline,’ with 75% indicating no motivation to change.
  • 11.3 million UK adults still lack the fundamental skills needed to access the internet, communicate effectively, and solve problems online.

The Future Dot Now coalition has made the following commitments, and we encourage other organisations to join us in this endeavour. Only through collective action can we develop fluid, interconnected, and sustainable solutions that are equal to the tasks and challenges that lie ahead.

Unveiling Insights: Southwark Digital Skills and Needs Assessment Survey 2023

Event Title: Southwark’s Digital Landscape and the Hidden Opportunities


Date: TBC

Time: 1-3pm

Location: Microsoft Teams

During the online event, we will unveil the findings of the recent consultation with the residents of Kennington and Brandon Estates.

The event is for Third Sector leaders working to tackle digital inclusion and data poverty in the UK.



In 2023, the Southwark Digital Skills and Needs Assessment Survey provided invaluable data and insights into the digital landscape of the community.

This event serves as a platform to share the key findings, challenges, and opportunities revealed by the survey.

We aim to foster a deeper understanding of the digital skills and needs within Southwark’s Brandon and Kennington Estates and chart a course for a digitally inclusive future in Southwark.




During the online event,

  • we will unveil the findings of The Digital Skills and Needs Assessment Survey
  • make practical recommendations that you can start implementing immediately



Please register your interest with the link. (What is this?)

The link will take you to a form. Once you have filled out and submitted the form, you will receive an email with the full details of the event. You will also be able to continue to pay and complete your registration or cancel.


Please contact john.a@ifbgaming.com if you would like to have a chat.

Thank you!

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