Local government in the UK awarded funds for digital inclusion projects
The Local Government Association (LGA, the national membership body for local authorities in the UK) will disburse close to £200,000 to ten councils to fund initiatives which promote digital inclusion in their local communities. The supported projects focus on reaching out to residents who lack the skills, infrastructure or confidence to go online by providing them with support, assistance and one-to-one mentoring.
Examples include Colchester Council’s initiative to install iPads in sheltered housing, Greenwich’s procurement of 20 licences for the Brain in Hand smartphone app to support young people with special educational needs, and Croydon’s digital inclusion outreach programme for elderly residents (details of the supported projects can be found on LGA’s website).
Cllr Peter Fleming, Chairman of the LGA’s Improvement and Innovation Board, said, “As part of the LGA’s wider sector-led improvement offer, the Digital Inclusion programme is helping councils to reach out and provide a vital service for residents who don’t have access or confidence to use digital platforms. Despite facing significant funding pressures over the past decade, councils have shown willingness to innovate to improve the lives of their residents.”
According to the LGA, full digital uptake could add £63 billion to the UK economy and improve people’s well-being by reducing loneliness, minimizing the risk of falls and promoting independence.