Free digital devices for communities
Community groups and charities are being urged to apply for free laptops and computers to help people who struggle to get digital access.
Birmingham City Council is currently in the process of decommissioning and refurbishing several thousand devices for use in communities. The initial pilot scheme for the Birmingham Device Bank saw over 600 distributed to 85 charities across Birmingham.
Councillor Jayne Francis, Cabinet Member for Digital, Culture, Heritage and Tourism said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for charities and community groups who are helping local people without digital access. With too many families already struggling to heat their homes and put food on the table, digital access can be completely out of reach even though it is so important.
“With this support, these organisations can help citizens build digital skills and confidence and assist them in applying for jobs and benefits they are entitled to.
“I’d encourage any organisations that think they may qualify to find out more. It will really support the great work they are already doing.”
In addition to the Device Bank the council has been helping people in need, working with partner organisations. The council ran a ‘Summer of Skills’ programme last year over 11 dates in 7 key libraries across the city. 22 volunteers from 3 organisations (Barclays, Experian, and AbilityNet) supported 128 citizens with digital skills queries, and distributed 75 laptops directly to individuals in need, alongside 28 sim cards from The Good Things Foundation’s National Databank, supported by Vodafone and Virgin Media O2.
The importance of digital inclusion is recognised within the council’s Digital City Roadmap which sets out a number of major programmes and projects to create a Digital Birmingham.