We are Getting Oxfordshire Online, which is a collaboration between three charities in Oxfordshire. We’re all about helping people who haven’t got access to technology to get online. Whether that’s through devices, connectivity, or support.

At Getting Oxfordshire Online, we look at three different elements of supporting people living in digital poverty. Firstly, some people simply haven’t got the money to afford a device. Secondly, some people do not have connectivity, which is increasingly challenging with the cost-of-living crisis. Lastly, many people lack support, which can be very individual. We work through partner organisations so that people get the very specific support they need. Whether it’s one-to-one training, support with a particular disability they have, or simply just the introduction to the technology and getting themselves going.

The Digital Poverty Alliance has been a fantastic support to us since we’ve joined in the last few months. It’s a great way of understanding more about what’s going on out there across the UK. It’s a very fast-moving area with different initiatives coming together, and we’re all learning how we can work together in the best way to help as many people as we can.

We were thrilled to receive twelve devices through the Digital Poverty Alliance and the Learning Foundation, which were donated by Currys. These were brand new iPhone XRs and to receive such a high-quality device for us is a massive improvement. Phones are most tricky. People don’t often donate their phone until they’re either badly broken or old and not very useful. So, to receive new devices has been a huge support for us.

I got involved with working to alleviate digital poverty during the pandemic when you saw the schools and kids not being able to get online. Increasingly I’ve realised that as someone who’s got a background in technology, this is a huge area that people need a lot of help with. It’s a very tricky problem for people to come unstuck from and makes a huge difference to their lives so I’m delighted we can help.

These first connections within the DPA are not only fantastic, we’re very grateful for the devices and the support themselves, but it gives us a lot of enthusiasm that we can help build connections as we continue to scale and grow what we’re doing here. The sense that there’s more organisations like this that we can be working with to get support into the hands of people that need it is really exciting.

We’ve still got a few phones to give out, but so far, we’ve given them to Oxford Community Action, or OCA, who are a local organisation working with people in East Oxford. They’re a fantastic group that pulled different communities together and they’re particularly good at finding people who may not be asking for support but need it. They might be coming to the food bank, but they’re able to offer more services than just the food that they asked for.

They’ve been giving devices to children who have got no access to the internet at home, which is making a huge difference to their lives: staying connected through the school holidays, getting their homework done, that sort of thing.

We’ve also given devices to Asylum Welcome, who are a refugee charity supporting people across Oxfordshire. Again, the mixture of technology we can provide is brilliant. Laptops, which is the majority of what we give, can get people to work with their employability. But phones in particular are often the first connectivity that people will have to the outside world. There are still refugees coming through the most unbelievably challenging circumstances and ending up in hotels in Oxfordshire. Knowing they’ve got a lifeline to the outside world is a massive support to them as well as that foundation to be able to start connecting into the various services in the UK they need to work with.

Hearing from the beneficiaries:

My name is Luke, and I work for OCA as the Manager for Operations, and I’m also the Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Community in Oxfordshire.

We really appreciate what the Digital Poverty Alliance have been giving to us. The laptops and phones really helped our children. We have a lot of children whose families don’t have money to buy those devices, but through your device donations, our organisation has supported kids and the family.

Most of the children complained that they didn’t have laptops or phones to do their homework, or what the school gives to them during the mid-term break, but with your help it was successful, which we really appreciate.

HG is being accommodated in an asylum support hotel in Oxfordshire. He is isolated and accommodated with very few Arabic speakers. Moreover, the mobile device he arrived with is broken leaving him unable to communicate with a legal representative and friends and family, exacerbating his isolation.

Thanks to having this mobile, he is now able to communicate with the outside world, contact Asylum Welcome for assistance and his legal representative about his case. Furthermore, he is able to book important appointments with his GP surgery and speak with friends and family therefore reducing his isolation.

السلام عليك اسايلم آحـبُ ان اشكرك

واشكر المنظمة التي منتحتني التلفون واللابتوب اشكركم جزير الشكر واتمني ان تستمروا في مساعدة الاخرين ويستمر مشروعكم

شكر شكرا شكرا شكرا جزير الشكر مرت ثاتية 🙏

English translation:

Peace be upon you, I would like to thank you. I thank the organization that gave me the phone and the laptop. Thank you very much. I hope that you will continue to help others and that your project will continue.

Thank you thank you thank you thank you very much.

Getting Oxfordshire Online