Top challenges facing charities and community organizations in England

Social inclusion is a topical issue in many arenas – many organisations are also participating to enable capability for all amidst technology-adoption maturity.

Recent investigations through the UK’s flagship Online Centres Network highlights 6 topical issues facing charities and community organisations as they tackle social inclusion.

I am particularly drawn to the investigation in discussion due to its similarities to my organisation’s experience at Southwark’s Brandon Estate.

What is Online Centres Network?

OCN tackles the most pressing social issues of our time by working with partners in thousands of communities across the UK and Australia.

The cohort of 5000+ charities and community organisations is brought together by Good Things Foundation.

Good Things Foundation is a social change charity that supports people and the organisation that supports them people to improve their live, through digital.

Since 2010 the social change charity has supported over 1.4 million people to improve their lives through OCN, using digital.


To efficiently deliver resources for the network, GTF conducted a research to get a snapshot of the most pressing issues affecting Online Centres in Sheffield.


The research used data from fifty-seven (57) Online Centres Network based in Sheffield. The data presented below reflects the findings from more recent national Get Online Week 2018/19.

The top 6 challenges highlighted by Online Centres in Sheffield are:

  1. Mental health – particularly men over 25
  2. Loneliness and isolation – across all demographics but with a particular focus on those aged over 50
  3. Unemployment – particularly in the 16-35 age group
  4. Community-centred activities for (young) people
  5. Support with business development
  6. Sustainable funding to tackle all of the above efficiently

Final Word

The research was conducted in order to learn, shape our strategy and better respond to needs. Currently, 11.3 million adults in the UK lack one or more of the basic digital skills, and 7.4 million have some skills but are considered limited users of the internet. 5.3 million out of the 11.3 million has ‘never used the internet’, 47% of which are are over aged over 75, despite over 75s making up just 7.78% of the total UK population.

Related Articles

Social Exclusion Vs. Social Inclusion

Reaching the deeply excluded in the community requires a careful mix of traditional and digital techniques.

According to Popay, exclusion “consists of dynamic, multi-dimensional processes driven by unequal power relationships interacting across four main dimensions—economic, political, social and cultural—and at different levels including individual, household, group, community, country and global levels. It results in a continuum of inclusion/exclusion characterised by unequal access to resources, capabilities and rights which leads to health and living inequalities”.

Social exclusion

This is a state in which individuals are unable to participate fully in economic, social, political and cultural life. Participation may be hindered by lack of access to material resources, including income and housing, or information or services such as education and health care. Exclusion impacts the quality of life of individuals and their geography.

It involves the lack or denial of resources, rights, goods and services, and the inability to participate in the normal relationships and activities, available to the majority of people in a society, whether in economic, social, cultural or political arenas. It affects both the quality of life of individuals and the equity and cohesion of society as a whole


Social Inclusion

Social inclusion on the other hand ensures that those at risk of poverty and exclusion gain opportunities and resources necessary to participate fully in economic, social, political and cultural life. Social inclusion is the process of improving the terms of participation in society, particularly, for people who are disadvantaged, through enhancing opportunities, access to resource, voice, security and respect for rights.

Process of improving the terms for individuals and groups to take part in society. It aims to empower poor and marginalised people to take advantage of rising opportunities in emerging forms of economies.


Learn more about Digital inclusion at Online Centres Network.