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  • Connecting Scotland - Digital exclusion during COVID-19

    Created: 08/06/2021, Updated: 01/09/2021

    Connecting Scotland is a Scottish Government programme set up to tackle digital exclusion during the coronavirus crisis. It is delivered with the support of local councils, SCVOand a wide range of organisations from across Scotland and the UK.  

    Previous application rounds have targeted those at high clinical risk from coronavirus, families with children, young care leavers, older people and disabled people. 

    Phase three is now underway and aims to remove barriers related to digital exclusion for unemployed young people and adults (aged 16+).

    Organisations can apply for support on behalf of the people they work with. This includes: 

    • Digital devices – iPads and/or Chromebooks.
    • Internet connectivity – a mobile WiFi hotspot with 24 months unlimited data. 
    • Training and support – for staff and volunteers to become ‘digital champions’ to support people to use the internet confidently and safely. 

    The programme is now taking ‘fast track’ applications from organisations working with people at risk of social isolation and loneliness, opening in October 2021. If you apply through this process you are committing to distribute devices and provide basic monitoring information within 14 days of receipt.

    Who can apply?

    All public or third sector organisations that work to support people to address barriers to employment are eligible to apply. This includes, but is not limited to, organisations and teams working in: 

    • Employability  
    • Education and training  
    • Youth work 
    • Community learning and development 
    • Health and well-being 
    • Social work 
    • Financial advice and support 

    Private sector providers delivering Government employability programmes (such as No One Left Behind, Young Person’s Guarantee, Parental Employability Support) may apply, providing they can meet the commitments to the programme. 

    All organisations must be able to commit to: 

    • Carry out an appropriate needs assessment with the intended recipients, including completion of a Connecting Scotland user agreement 
    • Provide details of the intended recipients, in advance of delivery 
    • Take delivery of devices and distribute them to recipients within 30 days 
    • Provide support for at least six months to end-users to help them develop their digital skills and confidence through the Digital Champions model – or have the ability to form local partnerships to help deliver this support 
    • Make staff and/or volunteers available for a 2.5 hour remote training session to become ‘Digital Champions’. 

    A full list of roles and responsibilities can be found in the template grant agreement

    How to apply? 

    Each local council has an allocation of devices available to them to distribute to people living in their area. This is to ensure as wide geographic coverage as possible. If your organisation works in more than one area, you’ll need to complete a separate application form for each area.  You can find the online application here.

    Applications close for Round 2 at 17:00 on 27 September 2021.

    Organisations will also be able to apply for more devices in a second fast track round to open in early October.

    More information can be found here. If you have any questions about the fund, please e-mail your query to [email protected] and we'll be in touch to help answer your question.

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