Although the digital divide that exists was not started by the pandemic, the sudden need for home schooling, online shopping, entertainment options and remote access to services such as GP appointments has brought the national and local challenges we already faced into sharper focus.
Over the last year, our greater reliance on technology and having reliable, fast internet connections has made the need to bridge the gap a significant priority. Therefore, it was chosen at the March City Gathering to be one of three main goals for 2021/22:
“To tackle digital exclusion through coordinated citywide action across generations, and respond to the enormous challenges and severe impact of the pandemic on children and young people.”
Work so far
The work to achieve this has already started, with city partners coming together to launch the Digital Inclusion Pilot Scheme. Taking a one city approach, we will see 4,000 recycled laptops (as well as data packages) being distributed amongst those that need it the most in Bristol.
To find out more about the scheme, or to donate devices please go to: Digital inclusion scheme – bristol.gov.uk
Introducing a new Board for One City
At the last City Gathering, we published the updated One City Plan, which outlines the goals and priorities for each One City Board. Each Board will look to integrate the digital workstream into their plans for 2021/22.
In addition to this, we are to set up a dedicated One City Digital Board during 2021 to support this work and improve the integration of digital opportunities in this latest Plan as well as future One City Plans up to 2050.
More information about membership, frequency of meetings, terms of reference and outline priorities will be available here once the Board is set up.
Links to other initiatives in the city:
Laptop Donations – DigiLocal – DigiLocal is working with a number of partners across the region to provide re-conditioned laptops for vulnerable families.
Bristol Sport Foundation – Digital Inclusion Project: The Foundation’s digital inclusion project works with the support of its partners who donate devices that are prepared for community use, pre-loaded with the Bristol Sport Foundation app and web app. Using their extensive community network, they identify families in the most urgent need and donate the devices for use. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how your organisation can make a donation.
Our Digital City – KWMC – Through ‘Our Digital City’, Knowle West Media Centre want to improve access to information, services and opportunities for people across Bristol, so they can develop new skills and become more active in their communities. They are connecting people using new technologies, supporting social change and developing resources for the city.