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Previous Phases

Connecting Scotland is a Scottish Government initiative set up in response to coronavirus.  Its aim is to help get every citizen in Scotland online.  

There are two main strands to this:

  • Provision of helpful resources for friends and family to help people get online
  • The Connecting Scotland Programme - a funded programme to support our most vulnerable citizens to get online

Read our Phase 1 Impact Report to find out what we have achieved so far with the help of our partners and participating organisations.

Connecting Scotland Programme

The Connecting Scotland Programme works with organisations to support their service users to get online. It provides iPads, Chromebooks and support to develop digital skills for people who are digitally excluded and on low incomes.

Phase 1 (April - July 2020) focused on those who were at risk of isolation due to coronavirus because they were in the extremely high vulnerability group ('shielding') or the higher risk of severe illness group.

Phase 2 launched on 18th August 2020 and focused on:

  • households with children, or where a child is normally resident (this includes pregnant women with no child in the household)
  • care leavers up to the age of twenty-six (in line with eligibility for aftercare support)

A second round of applications for Phase 2 closed on 18th January 2021.

On 11th December 2020, the programme expanded to also offer help to organisations working with older and/or disabled people as part of a Winter Support Package.

On 16th November 2020 the Digital Inclusion – Connecting Residents in Scotland’s Care Homes initiative launched to provide iPads and internet connectivity in residential care settings.

Phase 3 launched on 7 June 2021 with a focus on employability. In addition, two 'Fast Track' schemes were delivered in the summer and autumn/winter of 2021 respectively. Through shorter application forms and a rolling assessment and award process, organisations could apply for up to 10 devices per application to to meet immediate need for digitally excluded people.

Between March and July 2022 remaining device stock was distributed to refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine, as well as those fleeing other conflicts. Connecting Scotland worked in partnership with the Edinburgh TSI, the City of Edinburgh Council, the Glasgow and Edinburgh branches of The Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB) and other local authority resettlement teams to distribute devices.

How it worked 

To reach these people, Connecting Scotland collaborated with local councils, public and third sector organisations who were already working with them.    

Organisations and local councils got support from SCVO. This included:   

  • kit – internet enabled devices  
  • connectivity – through mobile data  
  • training and support – for staff and volunteers to become ‘digital champions’ to support people to use the internet confidently and safely.   

Connecting Scotland is a partnership between the Scottish Government, local councils and SCVO. It’s supported by a range of organisations from across Scotland and the UK.   

The Scottish Government funds the programme.   

Each local Council was provided with an allocation of devices to distribute to people living in their area.

Organisations working with people in the target groups could apply for devices to distribute through an open application process.