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Join the Digital Divide group to explore how using technology can help fix the cost of living crisis.

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Being digital is no longer just an advantage in life; it is a matter of subsistence and existence. After many years of some significant initiatives, we are still trying to end digital poverty, and now in the face of the cost-of-living crisis, things seem to be getting worse, not better.

  • 1/5 people and almost 1 in 3 children in our UK live in poverty; in February 2022, 22 million people were claiming some form of benefits
  • Despite the significant financial and well-being benefits, in 2022, the latest Lloyds Bank Consumer Digital Index revealed. that 10.2 million (20%) of the UK lack digital foundation skills

About the speakers

Sara Weller

For over 10 years, Sara has been a non-executive director in both regulated utility sectors (banking, water, telecommunications) and also on Departmental boards at both DCLG (as was) and DWP. In these roles, Sara has been involved in understanding the challenges faced by less advantaged customers and in helping businesses and the government to work together to provide more support for these customers.

Seeing the Cost-of-Living crisis emerging and the forecast for it to escalate rapidly through the next 6+ months, Sara has connected with businesses, industry bodies, DWP, advice agencies and third-sector organisations, looking at ways these stakeholders might come together to use technology to improve outcomes for the most disadvantaged.

Jonathan Prew

After spending much of his working life in corporate roles, JP spent some time looking at social enterprise and the various models, eventually deciding that Social Impact was an area that mixed his business background but also his desire to work in an area of social benefit.

Outsourcing, change, and technology-focused professional at MD & CEO level with several years of industry experience ranging from SME to FTSE 100. Proven operational and business development experience. Industry expertise in both public and private sectors with experience in both client and contract delivery.

Delivered in the region of £1bn new business. Managed staff base of 5000+ with P&L responsibility of more than £400m.

Full life cycle experience from contract launch and delivery of operational improvements through to contract renegotiation and transition. Experience working within the Private sector, Local Authority, Education, Housing Associations, Central Government, Social care, Voluntary Sector, and Emergency Services.

Twice global award winner for inspirational leadership.

In his spare time, he volunteers with a local environmental group. He spends time on activities such as clearing his area of litter, creating children’s play areas or supporting families and groups in need of “an extra pair of hands”.

Leigh Smyth

Leigh has spent the last 20 years in a variety of #Tech4good digital and financial inclusion leadership and strategy roles across retail, charity and public sectors in the UK and internationally. Most recently, Leigh was asked to prepare the Financial and Digital Inclusion guidance for the United Nations Finance Initiative and was appointed as Chair of the Digital Poverty Alliance Community Board.

Leigh is a strong believer in developing strategic partnerships to resolve societal issues and in driving the tremendous impact created by following behavioural science methodology in designing services to support the most vulnerable.

Leigh is passionate that technology can transform how people can cope with the cost-of-living crisis, to gain access to services designed for specific needs and the financial support millions of people are entitled to. Leigh believes that by joining up the customer journey with partnerships at the right time and place, we can raise awareness of the offers available and support the right behaviour change to drive the right outcomes.

Ren Hooi

Ren Yi Hooi is the Founder and CEO of Lightning Reach, an award-winning social impact startup which connects people in financial hardship with the support that they are eligible for and enables quick and secure applications to a range of providers.

Ren was previously the Product Director and Director of Financial Inclusion at Railsr, a leading FinTech scaleup. She led international teams as Country Manager for BIMA, a global InsurTech provider for the financially underserved, where she launched their Malaysia market. While at management consultancy Bain, she advised leaders across the public and financial services sectors. Passionate about impact, she has worked with The Rockefeller Foundation and has been invited to speak about financial inclusion and tech for good at events around the world.

Ren holds an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. from UC Berkeley. Originally from Singapore, she is a recipient of the UK’s Tech Nation Exceptional Talent Visa.

Our events are for adults aged 16 years and over.

BCS is a membership organisation. If you enjoy this event, please consider joining BCS. You’ll be very welcome. You’ll receive access to many exclusive career development tools, an introduction to a thriving professional community and also help us make IT good for society. Join BCS today.

This event is brought to you by: BCS Digital Divide specialist group, BCS Hampshire branch, Digital Poverty Alliance

Webinar: How we can fight the cost of living crisis using technology
Date and time
Friday 20 January, 12:00pm - 1:00pm

This event is sold out