The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Caroline Conroy, joined Sky Ireland today to launch the first Sky Up Digital Hub in Ireland at a Peter McVerry Trust young persons service in Dublin 8, as part of Sky Ireland’s partnership with the organisation.
Backed by an €11 million fund, the ‘Sky Up’ programme is a new initiative that aims to help up-skill 250,000 people across Ireland and the UK by providing them with technology, connectivity and training. The initiative is targeted to support people under 25 in low-income areas and those over the age of 65 – the two primary groups most at risk of digital exclusion.
Speaking at the launch, Sky Ireland CEO, JD Buckley, said: “The Sky Up Digital Hubs we are opening across the country will ensure that those who are most at risk of digital exclusion are given access to skills, technology, and connectivity. It is important to Sky that we support the communities where our customers and employees live and work, and that is why we are very proud to launch this initiative with our partners at Peter McVerry Trust, to deliver the first Sky Up Digital Hub in Dublin 8. We look forward to the rollout of more hubs across the country next year.”
In 2023, Sky Up Tech Grants will help young people aged between 16 and 25 who have left the care system, to get connected. Recipients will receive a personal tech device pre-loaded with relevant software, an internet connection through Sky Broadband and access to skills training.
Pat Doyle, CEO of Peter McVerry Trust said: “We’re delighted to expand our valued partnership with Sky Ireland in such a tangible and practical way. Our specialised homeless accommodation service, here in Dublin 8, provides 35 young people with a safe and secure home whilst they transition into adulthood. The Sky Up Digital Hub will help these young people access education and training opportunities online – enabling them to up-skill and eventually progress on to live independent lives.”
Sky Ireland first partnered with Peter McVerry Trust in 2021 as part of the Sky Cares programme. So far this year, the Sky Cares programme has seen almost 300 Sky Ireland staff volunteer over 1000 hours of their time. Sky staff have spent time fundraising for and volunteering at the charity’s residential community service in North County Dublin.
Also speaking today, Lord Mayor of Dublin, Caroline Conroy, said: “The opening of this Digital Hub by Sky Ireland with Peter McVerry Trust will provide a vital service for the charity’s young participants. We must ensure that those in our society who are vulnerable are not excluded in the digital age and can have equal access to the digital world. This initiative from Sky Ireland is a practical example of how we can help address digital inequality.”
The Sky Up initiative is part of parent-company Comcast’s ‘Project UP’ – a comprehensive initiative to advance digital equity and build a future of unlimited possibilities. Backed by a $1 billion commitment to reach tens of millions of people over the next decade, Project UP encompasses the programmess and community partnerships across the organisation that connect people to the internet, advance economic mobility, and open doors for the next generation.