Over £26m to Close Digital Divide

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Supporting People to Get Online

Graeme has said that the Connecting Scotland programme will tackle ‘digital disadvantage’, as around 23,000 people are set to benefit from new online training and skills to help improve their chances of securing a job or to reduce isolation.

He has encouraged organisations in Angus to apply to the £26 million programme, which helps those on lower incomes and groups like the elderly, will additionally provide people with devices like iPads and Chromebooks – and unlimited data for two years.

This builds upon previous funding aimed at helping more people access the internet – including those who were at high risk from COVID-19, care home residents, disadvantaged families with children and young people leaving care. The latest funding also provides an existing group of 36,000 recipients with another year of unlimited data.

Organisations can apply for phase 3 funding until 5 July.

Commenting, Graeme said:

The increasingly important role of technology is clearer than ever in the wake of the pandemic, and tackling the digital disadvantage some demographics face is a key part of our recovery.

That is exactly what the Connecting Scotland programme will help to do, and I would encourage organisations here in Angus to apply for a share of the funding before the 5 July deadline.

This Scottish Government is determined to equip people with the skills necessary to get online and benefit from Scotland’s economic potential – as we look to create more secure, sustainable and satisfying jobs and support businesses’ recovery.

The inclusion of this initiative in the government’s plan for its first 100 days should be indicative of its commitment – and the additional £26 million funding will make a real difference to people here in Angus and across Scotland.

Background

Since launching in May 2020 the programme has delivered to over 36,000 households including:

  • Families with children: 17,289
  • Isolating and high vulnerability group: 8,061
  • Young care leavers: 4,120
  • Older and disabled people: 4,899
  • Other vulnerabilities: 1,695

Connecting Scotland is delivered in partnership with the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) and local authorities, in collaboration with a broad range of local, public and third sector organisations.

Individuals can be nominated to receive a device by local public or third sector organisations.

There will be two application routes: one aimed at boosting employability, and a fast-track process targeting those isolated as a result of the pandemic – particularly single parents, older or disabled people.