Connecting Scotland – Phase 2 update
Blog by Katie Lyne, Communications and Events manager, Office of the Chief Designer, Digital Directorate.
More and more our lives are being lived online. Be it a video call with our families, work colleagues, ordering prescriptions or doing the weekly shop. And, increasingly, public and private services, are moving online, particularly during Covid-19. For the majority of us, this makes life easier. But there are others who can’t access the services they need due to lack of skills, equipment or connectivity.
Connecting Scotland aims to change this by supporting households, not just to get equipment or an internet connection, but also through training and support to ensure they can confidently go online and access the services they need.
Following two successful pilots and a first phase, Connecting Scotland has announced £15 million worth of funding for a second phase. It aims to support an additional 23,000 low income households with pre-school and school age children, and young people leaving care. Those who are eligible will be provided with a package made up of a device, data, skills training and technical support to get online.
The programme, delivered in partnership with The Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), Local Authorities and local services builds on an initial investment of £5 million. This saw the delivery of packages to 9,000 people who are at clinical or high risk from COVID-19.
Following the announcement, Cab Sec for Communities and Local Government, Aileen Campbell, had an online chat with one of the families participating in the pilot. They told Ms Campbell what a difference this had made to their lives.
Through the programme they received a Chromebook, data package and technical support. Receiving the Chromebook meant that the children could complete their school work with ease. One parent has also been able to use a Chromebook to prepare before starting a course in Social Care at college.
Connecting Scotland ran the first pilot in April with Glasgow Disability Alliance (GDA) and Govan Housing Association. This was followed by another in May with Children 1st and Aberlour Child Care Trust. As well as arranging access to devices and data, the programme has trained 547 ‘Digital Champions’ who provide phone and online support for the initial 6-month period.
Training and support for the Digital Champions is being coordinated by SCVO, and delivered through the local authorities and third sector organisations.
The second phase of Connecting Scotland will run from 18th August until 5th October.
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