Older & disabled people – application guidance

Connecting Scotland is a Scottish Government programme set up in response to coronavirus.

The current phase now includes an additional winter social support package to target those living through social isolation and loneliness.

Applications were open until 11am on 18th January 2021. However, any applications received before 11am on 18th December 2020 will be assessed for delivery in early January. Applications received after this date will be assessed for delivery in late February or March.

The programme will provide iPads, internet connectivity and support to develop digital skills for people who are socially isolated or lonely and meet the following criteria::

  • Are older people (aged 60+) and/or have a disability;
  • Are digitally excluded – do not have an appropriate device and/or are not connected to the internet at home; and
  • Are on low incomes so cannot afford to buy a device or pay for internet access.

Getting online will help them access public services, connect with family and friends and contribute towards reducing social isolation and loneliness.   

How it works 

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

Organisations and local councils get support from SCVO. This includes:   

  • kit – an iPad  
  • 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.   

Who can apply   

If you are a public or third sector organisation that works with this group of people in Scotland, you can apply for devices. Teams working within a local council can also apply. 

Individuals and private sector organisations cannot apply.   

SCVO will provide support for successful teams and organisations.  

How to apply 

You need to apply using the online application.  There is a template Word application available to help you prepare your answers.

This application round is open until 11am on Monday 18 January 2021. Applications will be assessed by SCVO and the local councils and decisions communicated by early March.

Each local council will has an agreed allocation of devices.

You do not need to submit a list of people 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:  

Digital champions  

A digital champion is a member of staff, or a volunteer, who’s already supporting someone, and has been trained by SCVO to help them get up and running with their iPad.  

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’re likely to have the biggest impact.  

Connecting Scotland has developed scoring guidance to support the assessment process. But local councils and SCVO have the power to make the final decision.  

The guidance recommends making awards to organisations based on evidence that shows they meet the following criteria:  

  • they have previous experience of supporting the proposed people      
  • how closely the needs of the people they support, fit the programme’s priorities  
  • how much the support will contribute to broader inclusion or poverty targets    
  • how much capacity they have to support people through the digital champion scheme  
  • their capacity to capture data and learning    
  • how they can demonstrate their organisation’s ability to deliver at speed to your proposed numbers  
  • what alternative provisions their organization can make  

The criteria are not weighted, but priority will be given to applications where organisations have existing contact with people, and capacity to support the programme objectives.  

For example, regular contact with the people we’re trying to reach and staff or volunteers that can become digital champions.  

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.  


For this phase, iPads are the sole device that you can apply for. iPads come with a case for protection, but do not come with a keyboard.