Digital Inclusion for Dorset Residents
by The Wessex Internet Team
It’s difficult to believe that digital inclusion is still a very big issue across the country, especially considering the surge we have had in the amount of people home working over the last few years. However, it's estimated that there are 9 million people in the UK who are unable to use the internet, which accounts for 16% of the adult population. Fortunately, Dorset Council have successfully secured £20,000 in funding for their new Digital Doorway scheme which will go towards issuing 60 laptops and tablets with up to 2 years’ worth of data for people who are currently digitally excluded. As well as this, each recipient will receive support and training from volunteer digital champions.
Digital exclusion is a term applied to anyone who cannot easily access services they need online; this could be elderly people who have never been introduced to the modern technology but could use it for keeping in touch with relatives and accessing health services or job seekers who are unable to access online applications.
Cllr Jill Haynes, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for Corporate Development and Transformation, said:
“The pandemic has shown what a huge difference digital can make to people’s lives – it meant we could carry on working and learning while staying connected with loved ones. It also highlighted how difficult things were for the people who were unable to get online and the huge gulf that now exists in modern Britain between the digitally included and the digitally excluded. In Dorset we still have 11% of residents who are completely offline and another 20% lack all the essential digital skills needed. This means nearly a third of our residents are digitally excluded in some way. Our Digital Doorway scheme and the support from our digital champions will help more people become digitally included.”
Anyone over the age of 18 who feels digitally excluded and lives in the Dorset council area can now apply to the scheme through the council’s online application form, organisations are also encouraged to refer people who they feel could benefit from the scheme. Please click here to submit your application.
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