Get Connected 500 launches!

Simon Community Scotland announce exciting new plans  to transform the lives of 500 people experiencing homelessness through digital inclusion

Simon Community Scotland’s Get Digital Programme is delighted to announce the launch of Get Connected 500! 

Thanks to funding from the Scottish Government and Good Things Foundation’s Power Up Fund (which is financially supported by JP Morgan Chase Foundation), Simon Community Scotland’s national project will connect and support 500 people experiencing homelessness to the digital world.

Each participant in the project will receive a free digital device (a smartphone or a tablet) and unlimited connectivity for 12 months. In addition to free digital technology, frontline workers at Simon Community and partner organisations will be trained as digital champions to provide person centred support based around a digital skills learning framework. 

Helen Milner OBE, Good Things Foundation Group Chief Executive, says: “We’re delighted to be working with Simon Community Scotland and the Scottish Government on Get Connected 500. The success of the first phase of Power Up demonstrated not only the need for support with basic digital skills, but also the potential to help more people live better lives through digital. We know that this project will have a significant impact both on how digital skills support is delivered, and on the lives of those supported.”

Housing Secretary Shona Robison said: “I am delighted the Scottish Government is providing further support to Simon Community Scotland to get people who have experienced homelessness connected to the digital world. Through their work, the Simon Community have shown the importance of digital inclusion as a key way of supporting people to recover from homelessness and achieve life changing outcomes.”

Lorraine McGrath, CEO for Simon Community Scotland said:   “We are thrilled that the Scottish Government and Good Things Foundation are supporting our trailblazing digital inclusion model to help us move it forward at a considerable pace. We have already clearly evidenced the importance of digital inclusion in our previous Get Connected reports. Get Connected 500 is the next step in a journey that will embed digital inclusion as part of the solution to homelessness recovery.”

Jamie Trout, Head of Digital at Simon Community Scotland said: “We are delighted to be given the opportunity to change the lives of a further 500 individuals across the country through our Get Connected model. In our previous projects, we have seen overwhelmingly positive impact and profound life changing outcomes for the people we support and we’re excited to continue this crucial work.”

Simon Community Scotland have been leading on digital inclusion throughout Scotland’s homelessness sector for the past 5 years through their national Get Digital Scotland Programme. 

The Get Connected 500 project will be rolled out in Simon Community Scotland services in Edinburgh and Glasgow and through our Get Digital Partners in Aberdeen (Aberdeen Cyrenians), Perth (Turning Point Perth and CATH), Fife (Frontline), Ayr (Seascape) and Dundee (Transform).

ENDS

For further information and interview opportunities with Simon Community Scotland and potentially with  people taking part in Get Connected 500, please contact Murray Easton, murray.easton@simonscotland.org, 07796 349 739.

Notes to Editor:

  • Simon Community Scotland is the largest provider of homelessness services across the country. The charity helps over 6,000 people a year through their Edinburgh & Glasgow Hubs, Street Teams, Supported Accommodation sites and many other initiatives. https://www.simonscotland.org/ 
  • Our approach at Simon Community Scotland is built around a cycle of learning and improvement. This ensures we carry forward the knowledge and experience gained in our previous projects into Get Connected 500.
  • Almost 34,000 households were assessed as being homeless in Scotland in 2020/21
  • The Scottish Government and Good Things Foundation (funded by JP Morgan Chase Foundation) , along with Simon Community Scotland, have funded this project.

Additional information about Power Up, Good Things, and JP Morgan for notes to editors:

  • Good Things Foundation is the UK’s leading digital inclusion charity. Through a network of community partners – the Online Centres Network – they are helping people to improve their lives through digital. Good Things Foundation helps people gain the support and skills they need to change their lives, and believes that everyone in the UK should have the confidence, skills, support and access to use digital technology, participate in society and benefit from the digital world.
  • Power Up demonstrates JPMorgan Chase’s commitment to address the key drivers of inclusive growth by making big, long-term investments that directly leverage our firm’s talent and resources to create a lasting impact in our communities. J.P. Morgan’s commitment in Power Up is also part of its $350 million global five-year commitment to the future of work to help under-served populations develop critical skills for in-demand careers through new investments in education and training programs and building a future-ready workforce by forecasting emerging employee skillsets, career pathways and upskilling opportunities.
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $3.7 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of customers in the United States and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.jpmorganchase.com 

Information on Simon Community’s previous Get Connected 100 project can be found via;

Life changing stats from Get Connected 100:

What participants said:

  • 96% improved quality of life
  • 91% increased their use of digital tools
  • 92% place more value on connecting to the internet
  • 94% will continue to use digital
  • 99% found Digital Champion support helpful
  • 85% of participants increased engagement in support
  • 100% of participants lives were positively affected

The evidence gathered in our previous Get Connected Projects shows us that digital inclusion is a key factor in homelessness recovery. 


Simon Community Scotland will be publishing reports on the impact of Get Connected 500 – watch this space!