The Digital Poverty Alliance (DPA) have expanded their Tech4Families scheme to help drive digital inclusion by connecting disadvantaged families across Northern Ireland and Lincolnshire Coast with laptops and digital access.
The scheme consists of microdonations from customers of Currys, allowing the DPA to purchase new laptops for children experiencing digital poverty. Parents are able to apply online or via a dedicated text line, and the successful families will receive a laptop and resource pack.
The scheme was initially launched in September 2022, targeting five key areas in the UK including Staffordshire, West Cumbria, the Norfolk Coast, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend, and Ayrshire, and is now being extended to Northern Ireland and Lincolnshire Coast – Northern Ireland being the UK’s most digitally deprived area where almost one in five people aged 16 have no digital skills.
The Tech4Families expansion aims to provide deprived families across Northern Ireland and Lincolnshire Coast with digital access by rolling out laptops and devices, equipping them with resources they need to gain equal opportunities, helping to support the 11 million people in the UK currently experiencing digital exclusion.
Elizabeth Anderson, Interim CEO of the Digital Poverty Alliance, said: “Tech4Families is more than just a programme, it is a catalyst for change. The expansion signifies a renewed dedication to empowering families with the tools and resources they need to navigate an increasingly digital world. Access to laptops and digital resources is not only necessary from an education perspective but it allows individuals to apply to job advertisements which are often online, opens more job opportunities in ‘work from home’ roles and provides people with access to services, such as online banking.”
We hope that this Tech4Families expansion can deliver more individuals across the UK with the support they need and we’re excited to extend its benefits to even more communities. Providing people with access to resources, equipment and connectivity will not only benefit individuals, but also the wider community and economy, and this must be the priority for businesses, policy makers and third sector parties.”
The expansion will support the aims of the DPA’s National Delivery Plan, launched in the House of Lords earlier this year, which set out six key missions that stakeholders must work towards to achieve the goal of ending digital poverty within the UK by 2030.
Catrin Hale, Group Social Impact manager for Currys, said: “Digital Poverty is a nationwide issue that needs addressing, so we are proud to be involved with an initiative that brings such huge benefits to individuals’ lives. Enjoying amazing technology, through being in possession of the skills and devices to access them, should be an essential for everyone: allowing people to connect, learn, work and carry out everyday tasks. After seeing great success in our initial five target areas, we hope that the Tech4Families extension in Northern Ireland and Lincolnshire Coast provides more communities with the digital access they need to improve their quality of life.”
If you wish to apply for the Tech4Families scheme, or donate in support, please visit https://digitalpovertyalliance.org/tech4families/ or text your name and address to 07984 445476 to receive a paper form.