The Digital Futures project is working to tackle digital exclusion in Westminster through an ambitious partnership between Young Westminster Foundation, Westminster City Council, local businesses and schools aiming to provide devices and connectivity to communities impacted by coronavirus.
9% of families in the UK don’t have access to a laptop of device at home. The digital divide is not new, but during the coronavirus pandemic its implications have been particularly stark. Thousands of young people and families in Westminster are without access to a device or reliable internet connection to engage with online learning and services.
Young Westminster Foundation & Westminster City Council have been working with local businesses, generous individuals and other key partners to fundraise for phase 1 of the project to make 750 devices available for young people.
Schools in Westminster have been able to apply to the scheme on behalf of the young people they work with. Later phases of the project will aim to distribute more devices to young people as well as to older residents.
Since September, Digital Futures has allocated 312 devices to young people across 18 Westminster schools. A further allocation of devices will take place in January 2021 in addition to the provision of broadband connectivity for one year to accompany the devices where needed. This builds upon Westminster City Council’s campaign to bring super-fast fibre broadband to Westminster residents.
Headteacher Louisa Lochner of recipient school Gateway Academy said, “these devices will revolutionise our children’s learning, both now and in the future, setting our children on a pathway to success”.