North Somerset Council’s digital inclusion project ‘Get Connected’ is open to low income residents on Universal Credit or with little or no qualifications, particularly in areas where digital exclusion levels are high.
The council has 120 laptops available for loan for a period of 12 months to eligible residents. They will be supported throughout the year and encouraged to sign up for courses which aim to improve their confidence, employment prospects and connectivity and reduce social isolation.
Cllr Catherine Gibbons, the council's executive member for children's services and lifelong learning, said: "This past year has shown us just how much of a difference the internet can make to our lives. The pandemic has proved that the internet is a key utility for everyday life and knowing how to use it is an essential skill.
"But too many people are still being left behind without the skills or access they need to benefit from being online. Nine million people in the UK can’t use the internet or their device without help and 4.7 million don’t have any digital skills at all."
'Get Connected', which has been funded by the Department for Work and Pensions, will help people to:
- get and set up free IT equipment for them to take home
- learn how to use it and access IT courses
- use the laptop to go job hunting and find work
- access useful online services
- feel confident in the digital world
- get connected with family and friends.
To find out more about the scheme and whether you are eligible contact the council's digital inclusion project co-ordinator Jane Goodison on 07990 805 512 or firstname.lastname@example.org.