$1million in digital devices grant funding through its Be Connected program
Prior to Coronavirus restrictions, over 3,000 community organisations ran Be Connected programs through face-to-face workshops. With programs transitioning online, one of the biggest challenges facing isolated older Australians in staying digitally connected during the Coronavirus pandemic is not just a lack of digital skills, but also a lack of digital devices and access to internet.
Grants have been awarded to existing Be Connected Network Partners to enable the purchase of loan digital devices and data for older Australians. This will improve their access to the internet, which has become more important than ever with the pandemic. Older Australians receiving a device will be supported to access learning materials on the Be Connected website. When the pandemic is over, the devices will be returned to community organisations for ongoing use in digital skills programs.
Good Things Foundation Australia welcomes this announcement by the Australian Government saying that with this funding, 215 community organisations have been awarded grants of $2,500 or $5,000 to purchase loan digital devices.
Good Things Foundation manages the Be Connected program in partnership with the Department of Social Services and eSafety Commissioner to reduce the digital divide across the country. Good Things Foundation is administering the digital devices grants in its role as national Be Connected Network and Grants program manager.
“We are grateful for the support being provided by the Australian Government to assist our dedicated Be Connected Network Partners across Australia as they transition from face-to-face workshops to online support during the pandemic. The $1million in grants will address a need identified by our network partners; 75 per cent of them told us in a recent survey that access to devices is a challenge for their learners.” said Jess Wilson, National Director, Good Things Foundation Australia.
Grants were awarded nationwide, including 59 in New South Wales, 1 in the Northern Territory, 22 in Queensland, 13 in South Australia, 1 in Tasmania, 87 in Victoria, 31 in Western Australia, and 1 in Christmas Island.
Be Connected Network Partners include community centres, libraries, men’s sheds, Indigenous community groups, disability organisations, employment services providers, and non-English speaking community groups.