For many of us, getting online is automatic; however, nine million people in the UK don’t have that luxury, and as a result don’t have easy access to jobs, services and support. And invariably, those people are the ones who need it most, from the most disadvantaged communities:  23% of children the poorest families don’t have home access to broadband and a laptop, desktop or tablet; the least digitally engaged spend an average of £348 more per year on utility bills. 

From our own experience as a charity supporting a wide variety of young people, adults and families, the Coronavirus lockdown put this into sharp relief: many of our service users found themselves unable to contact loved ones, access support services and even do basic things like order food deliveries for shielding family members. We heard several accounts of young people -including young carers - having to do their homework on their mobile phones as their families do not own laptops or tablets. 

Thankfully, on many occasions we were able to step in and help: thanks to donations of laptops from Shropshire Fire Service, many of our service users were able to access online support, apply for work and complete online learning; and our YSS Distress Fund paid for mobile data which enabled others to connect with family members who were far away.  We also supplied families with tablets via the distress fund.

In a digital world, we must bridge this digital divide if we're going to have any chance of a fair post-Covid recovery. We're supporting the Good Things Foundation campaign for a 100% digitally included UK, to ensure that no one gets left behind - least of all those for whom digital inclusion is a lifeline.  

For more information about the campaign, and digital exclusion, see: