Manchester inaugurates new digital inclusion scheme

Manchester inaugurates new digital inclusion scheme

Some 400 residents will be better connected during the pandemic thanks to the City Council’s new project

Manchester City Council is set to distribute some 400 Chromebooks to locals who need to stay connected as lockdown measures are being reintroduced. The devices will be gifted permanently and will come with free internet data, paid up until March 2021 and are meant for those who have no other reliable ways of securing a connection.

Acting in favour of the disadvantaged

The devices have been purchased as part of an investment by the Manchester City Council worth some 100 thousand pounds – with an additional 10,000 being pledged by the local housing and community services provider One Manchester.

The 400 Chromebooks will be distributed among the most vulnerable of the city’s residents – more specifically, those who have contacted Manchester’s COVID emergency hub and those who have been referred to the City Council by different organisation. Special priority will be given to the elderly, the disabled or those with low income, with many of the recipients fitting in more than one of these categories.

Most of the time, recipients will have no prior digital experience and will therefore be offered one-on-one phone consultations on how to use the new devices. The lessons are part of the Manchester City Council’s overall strategy of helping the disadvantaged keep with the times and will be carried out by a digital volunteer at the local government.

Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure, Councillor Luthfur Rahman OBE, stated that “The coronavirus pandemic has brought home just how much many of us rely on the internet for essential tasks, such as household shopping or accessing public services and for keeping in contact with our family and friends.

For our more vulnerable residents, the internet can be a particularly big help, but in many cases, residents do not have access to digital technology, or the experience to make the most of it. This investment, paired with ongoing one-to-one support, will support hundreds of residents to take advantage of all the practical and social benefits the internet can bring.”



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