Laptops and tablets available for vulnerable families

Support offered to deprived families finding it hard to stay connected and do schoolwork.

Laptops and tablets available for vulnerable families Getty Images

Vulnerable families are being given laptops and tablets after children’s charities teamed up in an initiative to combat “digital exclusion” during lockdown.

Aberlour Child Care Trust and Children 1st have joined forces with the Scottish Government’s No One Left Behind scheme to support some of the most deprived families in the country who may be finding it hard to stay connected and do schoolwork without access to digital devices.

It is estimated between 15,000 and 20,000 vulnerable people are currently experiencing digital exclusion in Scotland, as well as being in the most vulnerable groups for Covid-19.

Nearly 100 laptops and 500 tablets are being distributed to families in most need through the initiative.

SallyAnn Kelly, chief executive of Aberlour Child Care Trust, said: “The digital world which many of us take for granted – and couldn’t do without during this crisis – doesn’t include everyone.

“For many of the families Aberlour and Children 1st work with, life without any digital connection – no phones, no apps, no social media, no internet – is the day-to-day reality.”

She added: “This lack of connectivity impacts families and children in a number of different ways.

“As well as making it difficult for our teams to maintain contact with the families that need us, we are finding that many schools are not in a position to provide digital devices, making it difficult for children to complete and evidence schoolwork, and it is also exacerbating the isolation and loneliness felt by many children, young people and parents at this extremely difficult time.”

Both charities said they are aware of hundreds of families they are supporting who are currently experiencing digital exclusion.

Mary Glasgow, chief executive of Children 1st, said: “Both Children 1st and Aberlour Child Care Trust have already begun distributing digital devices and we are thankful to be able to work alongside the Scottish Government through its No One Left Behind initiative to procure and distribute nearly 100 more laptops and 500 tablets for families most in need.

“Families who are digitally excluded are at greater risk of becoming more vulnerable.

“This support will make a massive difference to some of the most vulnerable families in Scotland – and prevent harm.

“However, this job is far from complete and we must redouble our efforts to ensure every family has the appropriate technology to keep them connected and safe.”

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