The pandemic has highlighted that lack of online access is a serious issue that limits people’s life chances and wellbeing. Getting Oxfordshire Online will refurbish devices donated by the public and local businesses for school children, isolated older people and others in need.
Getting Oxfordshire Online seeks to tackle digital exclusion across the whole of Oxfordshire. It is putting the infrastructure in place to deliver a sustainable, long-term solution to the problem of digital exclusion. It is doing this through a collaborative, partnership approach, bringing together organisations with the necessary skills and experience, and learning from existing support-based services and initiatives that have already been successful in tackling this issue.
Getting Oxfordshire Online will address lack of access to devices and data, and support people with the training they need.
Building the refurbishment capacity
We have set up hubs in Oxford and Didcot to receive donations of laptops, tablets and smart phones from members of the public and businesses, wipe and prepare them, and deliver them to organisations.
Developing solutions for data and connectivity
We will support users to access lower-cost deals for wi-fi connection and data – to meet their needs efficiently, and add our voice to national initiatives that will offer better long-term solutions for those who currently can’t get the access they need.
Taking a phased approach to needs and training
We will link into trusted organisations to offer relevant training, building confidence and skills, so devices are used to maximum effect.
Accepting donations of both devices and funds
We are now appealing to businesses and the public to donate unused laptops to Getting Oxfordshire Online via our refurbishment hubs. Details of how to donate will be published very soon.
The project received kickstart match funding from Our Common Good, an OCF Donor-Advised Fund. We are now seeking further funding from government, philanthropic and in-kind donations, and you can donate to the project here.
- Up to 40,000 people in Oxfordshire are not online.
- Nationally, 34% of children aged 5–16 do not have access to their own device.
- Digital exclusion is a long-term, existing issue that has been highlighted by COVID-19.
- COVID-19 has spurred people into action and there is an opportunity to maintain the momentum.
- There are thousands of unused internet-enabled devices that could be refurbished to meet the demand.
The impact of the pandemic has highlighted that without digital access you are genuinely excluded from much of life. Home schooling without suitable devices, no access to homeless services, or isolation in older age. Project Manager Olwen chatted with B4 CEO, Richard Rosser in February about the need for increased focus on this area – with or without the effects of COVID.
The Age Friendly Banbury partnership is continuing its support for local older people with its Connect! project. The first phase of the project aims to help existing users, who already have access to a device, become more confident. This will enable them to do more – such as shop online, access services, socialise, find information, and connect with friends and families.