There is now wide recognition of the importance of addressing digital inclusion as a priority to reduce social isolation and help improve people’s well-being, including mental health and connectedness. The experience of lockdown has highlighted this issue and there is an increased focus on assisting those currently digitally excluded to get connected. A number of digital inclusion initiatives have been developed to help:   

Connecting Scotland - funded by Scottish Government and co-ordinated by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO). This programme is targeted to assist people on low incomes and has clear criteria provides a device (either a Chromebook or iPad), mifi and support via a dedicated local digital champion. More information about Connecting Scotland can be found here: https://connecting.scot/

People Know How
‘People Know How’ is a 3rd sector charity which operates in East Lothian and can provide laptops to community groups including Community Councils. They have devices available and volunteers who can assist people to develop their computer skills – they are also keen to recruit more computer ‘buddy’ volunteers locally to help people in East Lothian. Information about this can be found here: 
https://peopleknowhow.org/computer-delivery/

For more information about East Lothian Council’s work to improve digital inclusion contact connectedcommunities@eastlothian.gov.uk