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Working with Manchester City Council to promote digital inclusion

This article was originally published by Manchester City Council on 1 November 2023.

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We joined Greater Manchester’s digital and cyber community in July 2022. A major draw for us was the city-region’s vibrant tech and cyber ecosystem, home to one of Europe’s fastest growing centres of digital excellence.

What sets Manchester apart isn’t merely the tech scene. It’s the city’s collective ambition to make the North West a world-class destination for digital and cyber. From day one, we’ve been welcomed into this shared purpose. It’s not just about contributing to the success of Manchester - it’s about creating opportunities for every individual in the city-region too. Community isn’t an afterthought; it’s the thought.

Contributing to Greater Manchester’s digital and cyber community

Belonging to the Greater Manchester Digital Security Hub (DiSH) community has given us a golden ticket to some of Manchester’s best tech initiatives and the chance to meet the brilliant, talented people working behind the scenes. We had front row seats to Manchester Tech Festival last October. This year, we were proud to be involved as sponsors of the Women in Tech track, with our very own data scientist, Isobel Daley, taking to the stage to outline the findings of her research into gender bias in text-based generative AI tools.

The close-knit community here has meant that collaboration with Manchester Tech Festival has opened other doors for us, too. Earlier this year, we met DigiClub, the brilliant organisation delivering after school coding sessions to support young people across Greater Manchester to develop key digital skills. Our Founding Partnership with DigiClub sees volunteers from 6point6 get hands-on in supporting students during their coding sessions twice a week, with room to scale our involvement as DigiClub grows.

A highlight in our journey has been partnering up with the Digital Inclusion team at Manchester City Council. This summer, we put five refurbished laptops – including MacBook Pros, a Surface Book and a Chromebook – in the hands of people most at risk of digital exclusion. Thanks to the insights of the Digital Inclusion team at Manchester City Council, these devices, complete with chargers and sleeves, have found new homes with amazing local organisations including Mustard Tree and Sharp Futures.

Pull out quote: "Thanks to the amazing donation of 5 high quality devices, we were able to pledge these towards organisations who need more powerful machines to fulfil their digital inclusion goals." By Digital Inclusion team, Manchester City Council

Looking to the future

Refurbishing and donating laptops is something we’ve done for a while here at 6point6. Last year, we provided 35 laptops to Ukrainian refugees and the charity Compass Collective. But collaborating with Manchester City Council has only reaffirmed our commitment to investing in digital inclusion and providing opportunities for everyone to benefit from technology.

We know that inclusion is key to building a firm foundation of technology and skills in Manchester. We want to play our part in creating a legacy of opportunity for all, helping to keep Manchester as the number one city for digital inclusion in the UK. Manchester City Council’s Digital Inclusion team have been the ideal partner through their connected understanding of the areas and resources available across Manchester, directing our donations to those who will benefit the most.

So, what does the future hold for us? Honestly, we’re just getting started. We’re excited to roll up our sleeves and continue collaborating with Manchester’s vibrant technology community, uniting to create opportunities for everyone to explore the digital world. It’s not just important that we promote digital access and equity – for us, it’s essential that we put people at the heart of our increasingly digital-first future.

Measuring the impact

Find out how Mustard Tree has benefitted from these devices by reading Mrs. A’s story.


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