Connecting Scotland

Jemma Kerr – N Ayrshire Development Officer

In North Ayrshire and Renfrewshire we were successful with our bid to Phase 2 of the Connecting Scotland Programme – an initiative set up by the Scottish Government, in response to Covid-19, to get every citizen online.  We received 45 Chromebooks, 45 iPads and 90 MiFi connection devices which provide paid, unlimited internet access for 2 years.  I delivered 40 devices to care leavers and children and young people living in kinship care and those looked after at home across North Ayrshire. Similarly, Julie MacTaggart, our Interim Community Programmes Manager in Renfrewshire, and a team of 4 volunteers delivered 50 devices across Renfrewshire.

This was a great project to be part of, and it was very much a team effort. We were able to set volunteers up to use our advocacy and membership database which really helped with the recording process.  Volunteers were vital in the delivery across Renfrewshire, delivering 17 devices between them and offering telephone support.

The aim of the programme is to provide digital connection to those who need it and those receiving the devices were really happy with them.  Julie was told by people,

We can do on-line training… look for jobs… do school work… find out the bin day… ‘see’ my family… keep in touch… learn things… play games.

I delivered a chromebook to a 16 year old boy living in temporary accommodation who didn’t have a phone.  When he heard he now had the internet his smile would have illuminated the darkest of nights.  He said,

I can talk to people now, I can check my emails, yes, thank you.

The power of connection has never been more imperative to our community.  Thanks to these devices more people are connected and we welcomed new members into our care family.

With thanks to Scottish Local Authorities, funding partners and donors who make our work possible.