It comes as little surprise that with the ever-increasing advances in technology, comes an increasing divide between those who are digitally able and connected, and those who are digitally excluded.

Digital exclusion means not having sufficient skills, access to or support needs met when using the internet or digital devices (NHS Digital, 2021). One of the main groups of people who are likely to be digitally excluded are those with a disability. According to ONS, 56% of adult non-internet users are disabled, with that figure rising to 60% for those aged 16-24 years. The government’s Digital Lifeline scheme is one step towards bridging this gap, by providing devices, data and digital support to people with learning disabilities and on low incomes.

Image of man on tabletPhoto by Kampus Production from Pexels

Residents of Enham Trust have been most fortunate to be the recipients of new electronic devices, along with associated training, thanks to Leonard Cheshire, ambassadors of the Digital Lifeline scheme.

Five individuals who live in Independent Living accommodation and three residents from one of our care homes have all received a brand-new tablet device plus accessories. In addition, they have received a minimum of three one-hour training sessions to get them started with using their new equipment.

Chris and Trudy with their tablets

Trudy (left) and Chris (right), two of the eight residents at Enham Trust
who received a tablet through the Digital Lifeline scheme

Thanks to the equipment donated by the Good Things Foundation, Vicki Leigh from Leonard Cheshire was able to make this fantastic opportunity possible as part of the Digital Lifeline initiative.

Vicki says “the importance of digital inclusion for all cannot be underestimated in this current age, with so many aspects of our lives needing to be online. People with a learning or other disability have historically been left behind with the creeping advances of our technological world, and we at the Leonard Cheshire Trust aim to address this imbalance, supporting as many new learners as possible to get equipped and online.”

"The importance of digital inclusion for all cannot be underestimated in this current age, with so many aspects of our lives needing to be online."

One of the residents, Louise Wood, initially struggled to get to grips with using her new equipment. However, with perseverance and the addition of some adaptive equipment, such as a clamp, headset and high-viz keyboard supplied by the Good Things Foundation and AbilityNet, Louise has been able to make progress and is now able to use her tablet independently.

Louise with tablet

Adaptive equipment provided by the Good Things Foundation
enabled Louise to use her tablet independently

Roma Nichol, Activities Manager at Enham Trust, says “Vicki and Owen have been amazing and have tailored their training and equipment allocation to suit the needs of each individual. I have seen some fantastic progress with the individuals being supported to get online, including some real lightbulb moments for some who initially struggled to use their device. All those benefitting so far have stuck with the training and arrived at a point where they were equipped to go online independently and access the services and information which is important to them.”

We are extremely grateful for the support from Leonard Cheshire Trust and the Good Things Foundation helping to bridge the digital divide between disabled and non-disabled people. The Digital Lifeline scheme is the start of something great and necessary, and we hope as many disabled people as possible are able to benefit from it as our residents have.

Keep a look out for our next great news story on our journey to supporting digital inclusion for all!

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…and while you’re here we’d love it if you could make a small donation to help us continue to promote digital inclusion through the provision of digital devices and skills training. Thank you!

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