Many organisations have been approaching VSF about information for people who are facing what’s known as ‘digital exclusion’, who do not have access to the internet at home, for whatever reason. Digital exclusion puts people at risk of falling behind at school, in employment, in access to resources for health or training, and at this time, restricts access to family and social activities, all of which can have an effect on physical and especially mental health.
The following is a list of resources and projects for those who are seeking to help include those in need in this area.
Distribution of digital devices from industry
DevicesDotNow initiative seeks donation of kit / finance from businesses nationally which will then be procured and distributed through Good Things Foundation Online Centres.
A team at Cornwall Council is making an application to be an Online Centre, to distribute these donated items, with details to be announced when it is launched.
Support and funding
Support resources list from the BBC
Digital Support helpline from CRCC
For accessibility, skills and support, plus advice on cheap broadband – on 01872 243 557 or 01872 243 534 or firstname.lastname@example.org
This team can also provide grants to help people purchase equipment.
Offering funding for organisations in COVID-19 relief. You could put together a project to apply to fund broadband & equipment for individuals in need.
Has a debt helpline if that’s an issue around broadband provision. They can also offer one-off small grants to individuals) previously used to replace a broken freezer, etc.)
Frontline Network has emergency funding, specifically for homeless people, one category of which is ‘Overcoming Barriers to Support’ including digital.
Volunteer Cornwall is the lead on projects around social prescribing in a number of GP clusters. Full details of the scheme, and which clusters, plus the lead organisations in each case, can be found on the VC website.
Cornwall Rural Community Charity is working with Cornwall Council’s Inclusion Matters project, Care Homes, Village Works and GPs to support digital connectivity to support care homes and GP contacts.
For more information about the different facets of the project, see the website.
Cheap internet connectivity
BT Basic +Broadband offers a very limited broadband access (15gb per month) for £10.07 per month, which includes line rental.
This is for people who are eligible to get BT Basic lines, ie in receipt of benefits, including Universal Credit & pensions credit.
Other offers from other providers, although not so cheap, can be found here – on the Broadband Choices website.
Training / info services
Cornwall Council’s Digital inclusion Team is offering one to one support through telephone and email – 5 days a week 9-5 (some evenings if required), and training and other support.
CRCC telephone support – 5 days a week 9 – 4.
Digital Unite have some useful guides
Smartline project around educating people (Coastline Housing primary focus, in Camborne, Pool, Redruth area)
1) development of a bespoke guide on accessing digital technology, specifically communication-based applications such as Skype, WhatsApp and Facebook messenger for technology novices and users with low levels of digital competency and confidence.
2) Development of video and 1:1 telephone support to teach digital connectivity based on the bespoke guide.
Cornwall Council has some free courses signposted, which will help beginners get online, and stay safe.