Better ConNEcted, a North East based campaign, is requesting financial donations form North East businesses to help more people in the region to access the internet. Donations will provide communities and groups in the North East with data-enabled equipment, giving them the opportunity to access goods, services and information online.
Many of the services and parts of life that were once accessible in person have moved online through COVID-19, including school and university studies, welfare advice, healthcare appointments and social gatherings. Not being able to access these elements of life is having an enormous impact on those who are not able to or are limited in using the internet. But digital inclusion is an issue that many in the North East faced before COVID-19 and will continue to face unless steps are taken to change this.
According to the Good Things Foundation, there are an estimated 15.2 million people in the UK who either have no or limited use of the internet. The North East has the highest proportion of internet non-users in the country, standing at 12.1% for the region in 2018.
Anya Bonner, North East regional manager at Just Fair, and Better ConNEcted collaborator, has said:
“Access to the internet is a gateway for many people to exercise and enjoy their human rights such as the right to work, social security, education and food. We want people to have the skills, technology and internet to access their rights, goods, services and information online. We want to close the digital divide in the North East.”
Digital inclusion can be defined by people being able and feeling confident to use the internet. Barriers to digital inclusion include an inability to afford the internet or data, lack of equipment such as laptops or smartphones, low levels of digital literacy or lack of confidence, and poor accessibility for disabled people.
To find out more about the campaign go to www.betterconnected.org.uk.
To donate, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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