Stepping Stones 4 Connect - was a project set up to support residents to get online during the pandemic.
The project came out of a study into the impact on residents who lacked either the skills or knowledge of how to use digital. One finding was that the lack of knowledge of using digital technology was made worse by an individual's financial situation. The knock on effects were that people were:
- Unable to afford enough data
- Unable to replace or refurbish once a device was broken
- Unable to afford sufficient amount of devices for those with big families
- Unable to afford internet connection.
Something had to be done
Until the first Lockdown, Salna the Centre Manager, said that she was unaware of the term 'digital exclusion'; or that people in the community she worked with would be so cut off by lack of connection and the lack of devices to connect with.
She was supported by HEAR Network grant to set up a survey to establish the extent of the problem and find a solution which would offer digital inclusion support.
With this evidence from the survey, Salna was able to source more funding to help her train up her staff. The project provided the following to their local community :
89 Sim from Vodaphone
Distributed to those in the community on low income without sufficient data to keep in touch with friends; family; and local support services. Additionally we included those who were required to continue working in a new 'home office' set up.
11 PCs sourced from the HEAR network