£600k for digital inclusion in Scotland

Scotland’s Digital Health and Care directorate awards funds to 13 projects supporting 1,500 citizens to access online services in mental health and housing.  

The programme, launched in March, has a total of £2.1m to share between successful bidders. The £600,000 allocation is the first tranche of funding to be awarded.

person holding smartphone in Glencoe, photo by Oscar Sutton

Person holding smartphone in Glencoe, photo by Oscar Sutton10

Another £1.5m will be awarded over the next 18 months. In the process, the Scottish government and its public and third-sector partners are keen to gain a shared understanding of how best to support digital inclusion. 

This is an increasingly important issue. Apps and sites make it ever easier to access public services and more economical to supply them. But that means people who don’t have access to online services are increasingly left behind. Such people need a digital device, connectivity (whether fixed or mobile) and support to develop the skills and confidence to get online and engage safely.

Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care, says: ‘Supporting people to feel more digitally confident so they can access the services they need online is absolutely vital and it is one of our long-standing commitments. This programme will see models tested that will help so many people gain the skills they need to improve their own health and know how to access the support that is available to them.’ 

Among the successful bidders are:  

  • Aberdeen Foyer 
    £54,867 to help some 75 young people in Aberdeenshire at risk of homelessness by providing devices and assisting them with online tools, improving their access to support and reducing isolation. 
  • Blackwood Homes and Care 
    £55,000 to support some 150 older people living in supported accommodation in rural communities through ongoing delivery of Digital Buddies initiative. 
  • Carr Gromm 
    £54,667 to extend Glasgow-based digital inclusion work. This includes creating a safe, online peer network for improved well-being through meaningful community connections. Some 60 people are expected to benefit. 
  • Cyrenians 
    £36,244 to support some 37 people who are either long-term unemployed, transitioning out of hospital care or living in residential care. The funding will go to providing a digital hub at the organisation’s farm, one-to-one support and in-depth digital skills support in Edinburgh and West Lothian. 
  • Just Bee Productions 
    £54,229 to support digital inclusion initiatives for some 80 people accessing mental-health crisis services. 
  • Link Living 
    £50,628 to fund digital skills sessions for some 130 young people with moderate-to-severe mental health conditions. 
  • Moray Wellbeing Hub 
    £54,982 to create a programme in which 30 staff will help 300 local citizens to improve digital skills and confidence and social connections. 
  • Prospect Community Housing 
    £31,310 for digital drop-ins for some 70 people with disabilities or other long-term conditions in the Edinburgh district of Wester Hailes. 
  • Queens Cross Housing Association 
    £42,753 to continue a range of initiatives with digitally excluded groups, including coding programmes for young people and digital cafes for older people. Some 190 people are expected to be supported through this funding. 
  • Saheliya 
    £54,773 for digital inclusion and language sessions for some 72 marginalised women in Edinburgh and Glasgow. 
  • Scottish Association for Mental Health 
    £51,270 to aid some 100 people in supported living services with the expansion of in-person support schemes in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Perth, as well to offer more online support services. 
  • Shettleston Housing Association 
    £54,980 to expand digital inclusion projects with older adults who are retired or out of work. This includes setting up digital drop-in sessions, with 10 staff expected to help 160 people. 
  • Simon Community Scotland 
    £54,982 to incorporate digital skills training into housing services for some 130 homeless people. 

In related news: 

Interview: Jo Lovell Director of Inclusive Communities at Cwmpas on tackling digital exclusion in Wales

Thousands of digital devices given free to communities in Birmingham

Telford and Wrekin expand iPad lending scheme


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