Emergency support to get the most vulnerable online during the COVID-19 crisis

FutureDotNow are coordinating industry action through a new initiative, DevicesDotNow, targeting the 1.9 million households who don’t have access to the internet and are digitally excluded as we face a socially distanced world gripped by COVID-19. Supported by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the DevicesDotNow campaign is asking businesses to donate tablets, smartphones and laptops, as well as connectivity in the form of sims, dongles and mobile hotspots

As the government works to address the challenges of COVID-19, many elderly and vulnerable people may find themselves isolated in their homes with limited means of communicating with the outside world, or getting access to vital services such as health, food or banking.

Frontline community organisations are in desperate need of digital devices to be able to mobilise into the community. With your help, we can power them up so they can support households facing self-isolation – alleviating the strain on the NHS, while ensuring that vulnerable people aren’t cut off from their loved ones and the outside world. 

Our impact so far

We’ve helped some of the UK’s most vulnerable households to get online during the first 12 weeks of the DevicesDotNow campaign. But it’s clear that there’s a long way to go to tackle the growing crisis of digital exclusion during COVID. To find out more about what we’ve achieved and what we’ll do next, please download our latest interim impact report.

The DevicesDotNow Interim Impact Report #2 looks at campaign activity between 24 March – 26 June. It outlines: our ambitions, our achievements to date, who we have reached, who we have yet to reach – and tells some of the stories from the people that have received devices. 

Get in touch

If you’d like to talk to someone to find out more, please email [email protected] and someone from the team will be in touch.

At the current time we are working with large national companies and distributing the equipment being donated via the Online Centres Network supported by Good Things Foundation. If you are an Online Centre and would like to receive some equipment through this first phase can you please complete this form:

Another community organisation?

If you’re not an Online Centre and you would like us to get back in touch with you if we move to a second phase of the campaign then please leave your details here:

Spread the word

We encourage you to spread the word and share the DevicesDotNow message within your network. The information from this page and importantly the call to action can be circulated by downloading the DevicesDotNow pdf.

For a communications to circulate with media organisations, please download the DevicesDotNow launch release.

You can also share our latest impact report and our previous impact report for the period from March to May, which tell the personal stories of people who DevicesDotNow has helped to get online.

DevicesDotNow in the media

Digital exclusion is the hidden frontline in the fight against COVID, and in the nation’s recovery. The UK’s media agrees, and is covering our campaign extensively.

Our donors

Huge thank you to all of the organisations who have supported the DevicesDotNow campaign so far. Due to your generosity we have changed nearly 2,000 lives.

Take a look at our news page to read some of the heartwarming stories from beneficiaries of DevicesDotNow.

FAQs

Yes please. Do share the DevicesDotNow mission with five or more business leaders in your network who could be able to help. They can find out more at www.futuredotnow.uk/devicesdotnow. If you’d like to spread the message on social media, our twitter handle is @futuredotnowuk and the campaign hashtag is #DevicesDotNow.

In the first phase of activity, we will be prioritising community organisations in the Online Centres Network led by the Good Things Foundation. This national network has over 1300 community groups covering the entire breadth of the UK and has identified urgent needs in their community. They are experts at getting digitally excluded people up and running with digital technology and will be working with us to test the device distribution processes, the optimal device set up (what apps and learning to pre-install) and the best way to get people up and running. Our hope is that businesses will donate at scale and we will be able to extend the offer to other community groups. If this is the case we will invite other community groups to register interest at www.futuredotnow.uk/devicesdotnow.

There are several ways you can help:

  • Donate devices. Tablets or smartphones would be the first choice, but laptops are also required.
  • Donate sim cards, portable hotspots, dongles or other connectivity.
  • Make a financial donation. £10,000 would fund the purchase of tablets and smartphones for around 100 vulnerable individuals and families, while £20,000 would get devices to around 200 households. The donation would be managed by the Good Things Foundation, the UK’s leading social change charity
  • Spread the word. Share the DevicesDotNow mission with at least five business leaders in your network who could be able to help.

Our focus is on vulnerable adults supported by thousands of online and community centres which are now physically closed as a result of COVID-19, meaning a new layer of disadvantage for individuals and families who were already struggling to cope.

If you are looking for help supporting your staff to improve their digital skills in this difficult time, there is a wealth of free content FutureDotNow can help you access. We’ve curated some of the most relevant on our website www.futuredotnow.uk/COVID-19 including lots of easy to use digital training content from Learn My Way. Please do share it in your communities if you think it could be helpful.

DevicesDotNow is working with DCMS as part of a coordinated response across Government. Companies that have already been asked by the Government to provide support, particularly to the NHS, should continue to prioritise those asks. If we are donated kit that is needed more urgently elsewhere, for example by the NHS to enable doctors to video call, we will work as part of the wider Government response to ensure it is appropriately prioritised.

Through the DevicesDotNow campaign, FutureDotNow is coordinating industry support at scale on behalf of the UK Government. Individuals looking to donate spare devices should contact local community organisations directly.

Almost certainly, however refurbished devices have some extra complexity, so we’d need to know a little more. Please use the form at www.futuredotnow.uk/devicesdotnow to let us know and we’ll be in touch to pick up the conversation.

DevicesDotNow is a campaign, led by FutureDotNow and supported by DCMS, urging businesses across the UK to help community organisations support the most vulnerable people in society. 1.9 million households don’t have access to the internet and are digitally excluded as we face a socially distanced world gripped by COVID-19. We are asking businesses to donate tablets, smartphones and laptops, as well as connectivity in the form of sims, dongles and mobile hotspots. They are urgently needed to get the most vulnerable people in the UK online. 

FutureDotNow is a coalition of leading companies and civil society that’s a catalyst for digital capability change across the UK. It was established by Sir Peter Estlin, former Lord Mayor of the City of London, with support from Accenture, BT, Lloyds Banking Group, Nominet, City of London Corporation and Good Things Foundation. If you share our ambition to empower everyone to thrive in a digital UK, do join the coalition. You can find out more at www.futuredotnow.uk

DevicesDotNow is working with DCMS as part of a coordinated response across Government.

We will get the devices safely transferred to community organisations working on the front line, supporting the most vulnerable in society. They will then be given to the individuals identified as most urgently in need. The device will be set-up to be highly accessible and as easy to operate as possible. It will be pre-loaded with relevant apps (such as the NHS app and video-calling functions) as well as digital training from Learn My Way covering essential skills. The local community group will also be on hand to offer support and guidance over the phone.

DevicesDotNow is being coordinated by FutureDotNow, a coalition of leading companies and civil society that’s a catalyst for digital capability change across the UK.

People are self-isolating. For many this means they are relying on their digital devices to connect with family and support networks.  Those without online access are significantly more vulnerable. From accessing public health information or contacting their GP for a remote consultation, through to communicating with their core support network to discuss their needs and connect with family or friends. The deployment of devices collected through DevicesDotNow will support and encourage vulnerable people to self-isolate and social distance without being disconnected from the things they need the most. We’ve shared examples of personal impact stories gleaned from community organisations over the past few days at the end of this document.

NHS needs will always take priority. A separate request has already gone out to source devices for NHS staff. Organisations that are contributing to this should continue to prioritise this request. DevicesDotNow is coordinating the response to support some of the most vulnerable households in the UK, which should help reduce the strain on our National Health Service. This is also important to the NHS. If it turns out that NHS staff need further devices, the devices you provide will go to them.

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