A NEW £5m initiative has been launched by Scottish Government which will help vulnerable people to get online, provide them with a laptop or tablet and offer ongoing training and support remotely so they can stay in touch with friends and family.
The Connecting Scotland initiative aims to connect up to 9,000 people who are not already online, on a low income and at extremely high risk of severe illness from Covid-19, often referred to as the ‘shielding’ group. Connecting Scotland also aims to reach children and young people living in digitally excluded households where someone is at risk.
The initiative will support a range of organisations including local authorities and voluntary organisations working with these groups. Training for staff and volunteers will be provided to allow them to support people to use the internet safely, confidently and effectively. Those they go on to support will receive “digital champion” help for up to six months.
Voluntary organisations including community councils that currently work with people in the ‘shielding’ group are encouraged to get in touch to offer their support in identifying people who are digitally excluded in their communities who could benefit from this initiative.
Community councils can get involved by registering on the Connecting Scotland website to share their experiences and express an interest in helping to reach and support vulnerable people in their communities to get online. Community councils can access the form for organisations via the Connecting Scotland website.
The initiative is not currently able to accept referrals directly for individuals but a wealth of help and resources to help people make the most of the Internet is also available.
Connecting Scotland is a Scottish Government initiative, in partnership with local authorities, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) and the digital and IT sectors led by ScotlandIS.
More information is available at the Connecting Scotland website.