The Government has set up a £2.5 million fund to provide devices, internet connection and digital support to people with learning disabilities who can’t afford to get online.
Digital Lifeline is funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and delivered by Good Things Foundation, in partnership with AbilityNet.
Ajay Choksi, RIX Wiki Master and trainer, has been invited to sit on the associated Government Advisory Board as a self-advocate accompanied by RIX support. This is a great opportunity for both Ajay and RIX to be part of this exciting project.
“Covid has shown how access to technology is a vital part of an independent and fulfilling life for everyone in the community.”
Gary Moore, CEO of AbilityNet
Recent research has shown that the wellbeing of people with learning disabilities is twice as likely to have been affected by the impact of coronavirus when compared to non-disabled people.
The principal aim of the RIX Centre’s Stay Connected project with TechForce19 during the pandemic was to show how the RIX Multi Me software can help reduce feelings of loneliness and support the mental health and wellbeing of people with learning disabilities.
One of the barriers that our Stay Connected partner organisations identified during the implementation phase of the project was a lack of digital connectivity amongst supported users. This issue can be divided into the three distinct but related needs: hardware (having a suitable device), support (being able to use the device) and internet access (having broadband or a data contract).
According to the Government website, the Digital Lifeline scheme will pay for 5,000 Android tablets, preloaded with data and free tech support, for those people with learning disabilities who find themselves digitally excluded and socially isolated because of coronavirus. The fund will be delivered through participating organisations rather than via individual applications.
The Government website sets a tight deadline for applications:
“Applications are welcome from organisations operating in England that support people with learning disabilities, including self-advocacy groups, community-based organisations and those that provide support to people where they live. As an emergency response project, applicants should be prepared and able to begin immediate delivery of the Digital Lifeline programme.
The deadline for applications is 12pm on Monday 15 March.”
We’ll keep you updated on RIX team member Ajay’s involvement in the Digital Lifeline programme.
In the meantime, if you think this opportunity is too good to miss for your organisation and the people you support, get your skates on and apply below!
Let us know how you get on and please do contact RIX at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any difficulty accessing this opportunity for the people you support – we will do what we can to assist!