Addressing Digital Exclusion in Bucks

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During the Covid-19 pandemic, The Clare Foundation kick-started a pilot project in partnership with technology providers Simpal and Kraydel, and local charity delivery partners Age UK Bucks, Buckinghamshire Mind and BOPAG. We were able to provide digital devices and Wi-Fi connectivity to thirty older or vulnerable adults, who had previously not been able to access the internet at home. Each client was provided with either a smartphone, tablet or Kraydel TV video calling hardware and Wi-Fi data sim card. The project was a great success and helped beneficiaries to keep in touch with loved ones and support groups via video calls through the lockdowns and changing government restrictions on gatherings.

Towards the conclusion of our pilot, we became aware of the Good Things Foundation and the work they were doing nationally to bridge the digital divide. We caught up with Gabi Woodhams their Head of Network Delivery and Customer Support recently and were pleased to learn more about their National Databank and the launch of their new National Device Bank. Gabi has provided the following update for us, in the hope that more not for profit organisations here in Bucks will become members of their network.

Good Things Foundation: Bridging the Digital Divide

A couple making a video call
A digital tablet on a table with a cup and saucer and a mobile phone

Despite the general progression of society, there are millions of people across the country who are digitally excluded, and therefore alienated. 10 million people in the UK lack the most basic digital skills, while 2 million British households struggle to afford the internet. Lack of access to these basic amenities leave those excluded in a very vulnerable position, where fundamental services become unobtainable.

As an organisation advocating for social change, Good Things Foundation wants to bridge the digital divide and support the vulnerable in gaining technological independence nationally. We do this by working with our network, made up of thousands of organisations aiding local communities, to provide access through: learning tools like Learn My Way, outreach sessions in Online Centres, and free data distribution through our National Databank.

Our National Databank provides free data, texts and calls to those in need by distributing data donated by Virgin Media, O2, Vodafone and Three. Good Things Foundation connects those affected by digital exclusion through our network of community partners, who, by accessing the databank, are able to supply data within their local communities.

Good Things Foundation aims to find sustainable solutions to data poverty, beginning with the National Databank and upcoming National Device Bank, which will refurbish devices for those unable to afford or access them. With the help of organisations in the network, we can all support disadvantaged communities in improving their digital skills, accessing the internet, and connecting online to prevent alienation.

Joining the Network

Joining our network means you can drive social change and play a key role in ending data poverty within local communities, ensuring everyone can thrive in the digital world.

Our Network Membership benefits are:

· Access to free data packages and devices for the community

· Free enhanced training programme

· Regular networking events

· Opportunities to apply for funding

· Digital skills learning resources for the community (Learn My Way)

· Making a difference and contributing towards social change

To join the network or learn more, email us at hello@goodthingsfoundation.org, or take a look at the Online Centres Network website https://www.onlinecentresnetwork.org/

 

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