Connecting Scotland is a Scottish Government programme set up in response to coronavirus. Phase One, which targeted those at high or extremely high risk from coronavirus is now closed.
Phase Two was launched on 18 August 2020. This first round of applications will be open until 5 October. Awards and delivery of devices will take place from November onwards.
This phase of Connecting Scotland aims to provide iPads, Chromebooks and support to develop digital skills for individuals who are:
- digitally excluded – do not have an appropriate device and/or are not connected to the internet at home; AND
- on low incomes so cannot afford to buy a device or pay for internet access;
- and ARE EITHER
- households with children or where a child is normally resident (this includes pregnant women with no child in the household): OR
- care leavers up to the age of twenty-six (in line with eligibility for aftercare support)
Getting online will help individuals access public services, support learning and training, help find or maintain work and provide resilience in the event of further lockdowns.
How it works
To identify and reach eligible individuals, Connecting Scotland collaborates with local councils, public and third sector organisations who already have existing trusted relationships with these individuals.
Organisations and local councils get support from SCVO. This includes:
- 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.
The Connecting Scotland programme is funded by the Scottish Government, delivered in partnership with local councils and SCVO. It’s supported by a range of organisations from across Scotland and the UK.
Who can apply
If you are a public or third sector organisation that works with individuals that satisfy the eligibility criteria in Scotland, you can apply. Teams working within a local council are also welcome apply.
Individuals and private sector organisations cannot apply directly to Connecting Scotland.
SCVO will provide support for successful teams and organisations.
How to apply
This application round is open until 11am on Monday 5 October 2020. Applications will be assessed by SCVO and the local councils and decisions communicated by Monday 2 November at the latest. Distribution will take place from November onwards. A second application round is planned for November.
Each local council will have an indicative number of devices available to them to distribute to people living in their area. This is to ensure as wide geographic coverage as possible, while noting that families on low incomes and young care leavers are not evenly distributed across Scotland. If your organisation works in more than one area, you’ll need to complete a separate application form for each area.
You do not need to submit a list of specific individuals you want to support as part of your application. But you’ll need to:
- show how you’ll identify and choose people to support
- outline what their digital inclusion needs are
- identify members of staff to become digital champions and take part in mandatory digital champions training
You’ll also need to identify how this work can contribute to broader social inclusion or poverty reduction strategies.
This means showing how it supports other needs in local and national strategies including the:
By applying for the Connecting Scotland programme to receive devices and connectivity, you are committing some of your own staff time to act as Digital Champions to support individuals to get online, and to feel comfortable and safe in using their devices.
A digital champion is a member of staff, or a volunteer who, where possible, already has experience or relationships with the recipients, and has been trained by SCVO to help them get up and running with their iPad or Chromebook.
This approach builds on the relationships and trust that your staff have already built up with people.
Digital champions do not need to be technical people. They just need to be confident in their own digital skills. And, more importantly, they should have good interpersonal skills.
As part of their work with users, digital champions will give people regular, informal support for 6 months.
SCVO’s training for digital champions lasts 2 and a half hours and is delivered remotely. Digital champions will also get resources and ongoing support to help them fulfil their role.
How applications are assessed
Applications are assessed by SCVO and local councils. Their aim is to allocate devices to where they are likely to have the greatest positive impact.
Connecting Scotland has developed scoring guidance to support the assessment process. Each local council with SCVO have the authority to make the final decision.
The guidance recommends making awards to organisations based on evidence that shows they meet the following criteria:
- organisations have previous experience of supporting the proposed recipients
- how closely the needs of the individuals your organisation support, fit the programme’s priorities
- how much the support will contribute to broader inclusion or poverty targets
- how much capacity the organisation have to support people through the digital champion scheme
- organisational capacity to capture data and learning
- how applicants can demonstrate their organisation’s ability to deliver to the proposed number of recipients
- there are no alternative sources of digital support available for the recipient individuals
The criteria are not weighted, but priority will be given to applications where organisations have existing relationships with the intended recipients, and capacity to support the programme objectives.
What you’ll need to do if your application is successful
If your application is successful, your organisation will have to sign a grant agreement with SCVO.
The agreement covers:
- the devices you’ve applied for
- your expected commitment to the programme
- SCVO’s responsibilities
It also covers general grant conditions. This covers things like:
- an agreement to comply with data protection regulations
- health and safety considerations
- protection of vulnerable groups
- other legislation that’s relevant to your organisation
- sharing monitoring and evaluation data with SCVO
Monitoring and evaluation data will be shared with local councils, and the Scottish Government, over the following 12 months.
You can apply for iPads, Chromebooks or a combination of both. You need to decide which type of device is most suitable for your service users.
iPads come with a case for protection, but do not come with a keyboard.
iPads are likely to be more suitable for:
- older people
- people who have little or no digital skills
- people with accessibility needs
Chromebooks are likely to be more suitable for working age people, or families with children in education.