The Scottish government has pledged £26 million to help more people get online and get to grips with digital processes.
A scheme called Connecting Scotland is being backed with the extra funding with the aim being to help close the so-called ‘digital divide’ in all parts of Scotland.
Expectations are that roughly 23,000 people will be able to benefit from the funding through expanded access to digital skills training and devices, including iPads and Chromebooks, that will allow them to get online.
It is hoped that many of the thousands of people who access support through the scheme will be able to improve their chances of getting a job, if they are unemployed, or reduce their sense of isolation if they live alone or have been isolating because of coronavirus.
Elderly people and those on low incomes are among those being particularly targeted by the Connecting Scotland programme, which is also set to offer around 36,000 people a year’s worth of free internet data.
Applications for what is the third tranche of funding provided by the Scottish government to the scheme will be open to intermediary organisations from July 5.
“With technology playing an increasingly important role in our society, ensuring people can get online and have the right skills and training is even more important to Scotland’s recovery from the pandemic,” said Kate Forbes, who is finance and economy secretary within the Scottish government.
“The Scottish government committed to helping more people get online within our first 100 days plan and that is why we are providing an additional £26 million to help a further 23,000 households experiencing difficulties with online access,” she added.
Part of the thinking behind the digital skills and access programme is that parents across Scotland should be given more opportunities to get online for their own benefit but also for the sake of their children.
Having access to the internet and connected devices has been particularly vital for pupils in recent months with schools having to close for several months during the worst periods of the pandemic.
According to the government’s own statistics, its Connecting Scotland scheme has so far helped more than 17,000 families with children nationwide since its launch in May 2020.
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