Community workers help to connect North East Fife families

COMMUNITY workers from Fife Council’s Community Learning and Development (CLD) team are braving the winter weather to deliver Chromebooks and mobile internet devices to families across North East Fife.

A total of 75 Chromebooks were awarded to the North East Fife area team following a successful application to the latest phase of Connecting Scotland, a Scottish Government-funded programme in partnership with the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations and local councils.  The programme aims to provide devices and digital skills support to people who are digitally excluded and on low incomes.

During the 2020 spring lockdown, Connecting Scotland Phase 1 focused on individuals at risk of isolation due to coronavirus “shielding” and vulnerability.  The NE Fife CLD team successfully distributed 25 devices to individuals in this category with many recipients receiving ongoing digital skills support.

The current allocation of Chromebooks and MiFi mobile data devices is targeted at all family households engaged with North East Fife CLD and their services.

Team Manager for Community Development, Sheena Watson said:

“Tackling digital exclusion is a key part of our anti-poverty and community development work in North East Fife.  We know that digital exclusion has knock-on effects for social isolation and the cost of living, such as being unable to compare and switch utilities tariffs online, resulting in higher bills and creating debt.

“So it’s really important that we help provide this digital kit and connectivity to family households, particularly when our communities are facing all the financial challenges of another lockdown.”

In NE Fife 32% of people are service-deprived - meaning they have to travel to access basic services.  This latest support through NE Fife CLD and Connecting Scotland aims to help families improve their access to the goods and services they require to live well in our communities.

Sheena Watson added:

“In our survey of 50 participants who received food and financial support during lockdown, the consistent feedback was that being offline added to people’s isolation, particularly parents supporting children with schoolwork and accessing other services and shopping.

“We’re therefore really grateful to the support through Connecting Scotland and pleased that we have been able to successfully allocate devices to the families in North East Fife who need them.”

Community Worker Caroline Berry added:

“It’s such a rewarding experience to be able to deliver these devices and ensure that local families can get connected and get through this difficult winter.  From the feedback I’ve received so far, getting online can make a huge difference – whether it’s being able to see a loved one through videocall, applying for benefits or arranging a supermarket delivery.”

L-R Susan Roden - adult learner/community fridge volunteer and recipient of Connecting Scotland device with Caroline Berry CEW at the Community Fridge"

Photo Caption: L-R Susan Roden - adult learner/community fridge volunteer and recipient of Connecting Scotland device with Caroline Berry CEW at the Community Fridge"