Providing digital support to those who need it most during the COVID-19 pandemic
Written by Liz Williams MBE, CEO FutureDotNow
At times like this I am proud to be CEO of FutureDotNow. With the launch of our DevicesDotNow initiative in partnership with DCMS we can get emergency support to the most vulnerable people in our societies
Whether we like it or not, COVID-19 has forced us all indoors. For most of us that means adjusting to remote working, juggling childcare and jobs, and putting in place new ways to ensure our loved ones are supported. It’s not ideal but we adapt, and life sort of goes on in what becomes a new norm. But what about the people whose lives can’t go on remotely?
1.7 million households in Britain don’t have access to the internet at home. I’ve been banging on about the digital divide for the best part of a decade, but never has it been in sharper focus. Just imagine what it means not to be online today. All the coping strategies we’re establishing — online shopping, online banking, online home-schooling support, regular ‘virtual’ contact with friends and family. Not available.
And it’s a sad fact but digital deprivation sits closely alongside other forms of deprivation, and those at most risk from Covid19. If you are digitally excluded, you simply cannot stay home, even if you might want to. You’ve no choice but to go out for food for your family, your medicine or home supplies. A health risk for you and your families, but you’re your community.
Over the past weeks, I’ve heard heartbreaking tales of impacts of Covid-19 and social distancing on the most vulnerable in our society. And I’ve heard heartwarming tales of simply heroic community leaders doing everything in their powers to help. But they need your help. Our frontline community organisations across the country are in desperate need of digital devices to help the digitally excluded to be a little less isolated during these trying times. That is why FutureDotNow is working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on a new initiative called DevicesDotNow, targeting digitally excluded households.
We’re asking businesses across the country to donate tablets, smartphones and laptops, and connectivity in the form of sims, dongles and mobile hot-spots, to urgently help get the most vulnerable people in the UK online. In doing so, we want to give people the ability to stay safe by staying at home and alleviate further stress on the NHS.
We hope your business will be able to contribute to DevicesDotNow and help protect and empower some of the most vulnerable households in the UK.
Please visit https://futuredotnow.uk/devicesdotnow/ to find out more and please, spread the word to business leaders in your network. It’s never been more important to work together. And we need to support our community organisations with #DevicesDotNow.
#DevicesDotNow #StayHomeSaveLives #digitaldivide
Originally published at https://digileaders.com on April 6, 2020.