Vale tablet loan schemeDigital Inclusion | Employment/Training
What is the project?
The Vale Tablet Loan Scheme is a pilot project to test how efficient, effective and value for money lending wifi-enabled tablets through a library, coupled with basic digital skills training is at reducing digital exclusion in the Vale of Glamorgan.
Who is the project targeted at?
Digital Inclusion is more than just getting people online, it is about transforming lives, particularly for those groups most excluded. Figures taken from National Survey of Wales - 2016/2017 show 12% of people are offline in the Vale of Glamorgan.
There is no single reason for people being digitally excluded but the main reasons for being offline are:
• A lack of interest
• Lack of skills
• Cost of equipment
This project aims to address these barriers by providing wifi enabled tablets that can be borrowed to library members from the local library. Participants will also be able to access basic digital skills support in a 1-1 or group setting to learn how to get online and make the most of the digital equipment.
The project will target those who currently do not have access to the internet and those who have little or no basic digital skills; these include older adults, adults currently receiving benefits and adults with a disability.
Why did the project come about?
Evidence suggests that technology has great potential to support older adults in living and aging well. As such the pilot looked to assess if enhancing levels of connectiveness by way of providing social, stimulating, meaningful and enjoyable activities would mitigate social isolation.
Furthermore, many people living in poverty have limited access to education and resources, the pilot project looked to address this by providing real time information and resources empowering the service user through the tablets.
How was this project implemented?
• Participants are identified from referral paths along with self referrals
• Participants agree to terms and conditions of use
• Participants agree to undertake short digital skills support (more intense support can be provided if needed)
• The wifi enabled tablets are set up and loaned out through the libraries and community libraries
• The tablets operating systems are maintained by the libraries and community libraries
• Continuous marketing and promotion ensures sufficient interest from referrals prospective participants.
• Continuous monitoring is undertaken and embedded within the pilot delivery model to support a robust evaluation
• Content filtering and cyber security protocols has been enabled to ensure project meets Prevent Duty guidelines.
Digital Skills support:
• Mandatory basic skills session will be delivered to every participant
• Digital Drop-in support handout is provided to participant at the start and end of tablet loan
How was this project funded?
The project was funded through Newydd digital inclusion program, Creative Rural Communities, Vale of Glamorgan Council, Vale of Glamorgan Library Service, Vale Homes, and monies secured through social Community Benefits clauses within our tendered contracts with WK Plasterers and Hale Construction.
The project was delivered in partnership with Digital Communities Wales, Vale of Glamorgan Council, Vale of Glamorgan Library Service and Vale of Glamorgan Community Libraries.
Outcomes so far
The main objectives of this pilot were; to test if lending wifi enabled tablets is a successful route to reducing digital exclusion among specific group of people and providing basic digital skills training and information on local digital support options is essential to getting people to stay online.
After collating responses from participants (dated 10.03.2020), 17 tablets have been lent to individuals from the following groups:
• Older adults (55 years +)
• Adults currently receiving benefits
• Adults with a disability
• All participants are competent and confident enough to access the internet from the tablet
• Participants gained a basic level of digital skills and better understanding on how to keep themselves and their data safe whilst online
• All participants know where to access local support to stay online
• Participants have reported a positive impact in their lives as a result of participating in this pilot, measured through qualitative and quantitative data and analysis during the evaluation phase
Further funding has been secured and additional partners has been established in order to purchase more iPads and strengthen the ongoing work in the Vale of Glamorgan.
We are keen to build on the experience gained during the pilot to help other local authorities, library services and community hubs reduce the digital divide even further.
A report documenting the project background, technology used, partners, outcomes and other key findings is currently in development where we hope to share among local authorities, library services and community partners who look to develop something similar.
- Article of Newydd website: https://www.newydd.co.uk/news/the-vale-to-pilot-waless-first-library-tablet-loan-scheme