VODG supports project to help people with learning disabilities to get online

VODG is pleased to support the roll out of a Digital Lifeline project to distribute 5,000 devices to adults with learning disabilities to help them get online.

Organisations that support people with learning disabilities can now apply for free internet tablets.

People with a learning disability face much higher risks from COVID-19, including risks to their health and loneliness. Many people with learning disabilities are also digitally excluded.

The tablets, which are funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, will help to reduce feelings of loneliness, support people’s mental health and help them stay connected during the pandemic.

Successful applicants will receive the tablets for free, which are preloaded with data and provided with technical support.

Working together with the Good Things Foundation, AbilityNet, and Learning Disability England, VODG is supporting organisations to apply.

For every device received, organisations will get a grant of £100 to support the cost of helping the individual to learn how to use their device safely and confidently. The minimum number is 10 people, meaning a grant of £1,000. Organisations can also apply for more than 10 devices.

Eligible organisations must:

  • know at least 10 people with a learning disability who are digitally excluded,
  • support people with learning disabilities in the community or have links with self-advocacy or day services,
  • be able to distribute the device safely and support people to use them,
  • collect information at the start and end of the project to show its impact,
  • be able to start straight away.

As an emergency response project, applicants should be prepared and able to begin immediate delivery of the Digital Lifeline programme.

The application process is straight forward and includes four questions to assess an organisation’s suitability. Organisations need to be a member of the Online Centres Network, a free network that brings grassroots organisations together to tackle digital exclusion. You can register here.

The deadline for applications is noon on Monday 15 March.

The Good Things Foundation team is hosting a live Zoom call at 2pm on Wednesday 10 March to provide information about the scheme and answer any questions.

VODG can support members who’d like to make an application. We can provide you with all the information you’ll need to apply and talk you through the process. Contact Peter Loose on [email protected] or 07963 379879.

If you support less than 10 people, but would still like to apply, please contact Peter and we can arrange for you to combine your application with another organisation.