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Get Connected 100

Get Connected 100 – Life Changing Results

Connecting 100 People Experiencing Homelessness to the Digital World

Click here to read the full Get Connected 100 Report.

Simon Community Scotland’s Get Digital Scotland Programme has been delivering the Get Connected 100 project with our Get Digital Partners throughout Scotland. Starting in March 2021, with funding from the Scottish Government, we provided 100 people experiencing homelessness with:

  • A digital device
  • Unlimited connectivity
  • Support from a trained Digital Champion  
  • A learning framework of digital skills
Device Data Support Framework Get Digital 100

What happened?

We have seen overwhelmingly positive impact and profound life changing outcomes for the people participating in this project.

Participants have been using their devices to increase their quality of life in so many different ways. People were able to connect with friends and family, reach support networks, stay up to date with the latest news, access government services, manage personal finances (including their benefits), access online entertainment and content to improve their mental health and wellbeing.

Participant in Get Connected 100

Life changing stats

The evidence gathered from staff and participant surveys show that the project has delivered astounding results:

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

What digital champions said:

  • 85% of participants increased engagement in support
  • 100% of participants lives were positively affected

Reflections

Absolutely buzzing! I am young and enjoy socialising and this now allows me to enjoy all the things I have missed for a long time. I feel more connected to other people and to the world as a whole.” 
Supported person in Fife
The best thing about this project?… Everything”
Supported person in Aberdeen
Participant in Get Connected 100
There have been so many positives – people having better contact with their family/friends, being able to access things they enjoy such as TV shows and movies or games, being able to access recovery meetings and groups, accessing apps for exercise and meditation purposes.” 
Digital Champion in Glasgow.
It’s been great seeing service users developing digital skills from the framework – being more engaged with services, family, friends and more careful with budgeting their money.” 
Digital Champion in Aberdeen

10 Life Changing Impacts

We conducted extensive interviews with people involved in the project and found 10 life changing impacts that came up over and over again:

Life changing impacts
  1. Increasing life opportunities 
  2. Strengthening dignity and respect
  3. Enabling connection with friends and family and other support networks
  4. Accessing services and support
  5. Promoting mental health and wellbeing
  6. Enabling autonomy and independence
  7. Giving freedom and peace of mind
  8. Supporting recovery – a digital approach to harm reduction
  9. Stimulating education, learning and self development
  10. Changing perceptions and challenging stigma

Read more about these 10 life changing impacts in the full Get Connected 100 report.

Digital Inclusion is a Pathway to Inclusion in Other Critical Life Areas

When people can access the digital world, they are able to access other inclusion agendas such as social inclusion, health inclusion, financial inclusion, democratic inclusion, educational inclusion, cultural inclusion and inclusion in public services. This project doesn’t just include people in ‘digital’, it includes people in many other critical life areas. When people face multiple exclusions, ‘Digital’ is a pathway back into society and is an essential part of the solution to recovery from homelessness.

Exclusion vs Inclusion

What’s Next?

We are currently exploring ways to expand this project to help more people ‘Get Connected’, recover from homelessness and thrive.

A word from Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government:

“I am delighted the Scottish Government provided £40,000 to fund this project. It is ensuring 100 people experiencing homelessness get connected to the digital world. The pandemic has shown us that access to digital equipment, data and skills is a basic necessity and not a luxury which is why the Scottish Government is focusing on digital inclusion. The project has highlighted the importance of digital inclusion as a key way of supporting people to recover from homelessness and achieve life changing outcomes.

This has been made possible due the commitment of the Simon Community, their Get Digital Partners and of course the people participating and I want to thank everyone involved.”

Thank You

Get Connected 100 was all made possible by contributions from an incredible team of people and organisations working together in partnership. We’d like to thank the participants in the project, our amazing digital champions, Simon Community Scotland services, our Get Digital Partners (Seascape [Ayrshire], CATH and Turning point Scotland [Perth], Aberdeen Cyrenians [Aberdeen], Frontline Fife [Fife]), our friends at Mhor Collective and the Scottish Government.

Click here to read the full Get Connected 100 Report.

Get Connected 100

Life changing project launched: Get Connected 100

Get Digital Scotland, Simon Community Scotland’s digital inclusion programme, is proud to announce the launch of Get Connected 100! This is a Scotland-wide project giving 100 people experiencing homelessness access to the digital world. 

Digital access is a critical factor in recovery from homelessness. Simon Community Scotland has been leading the way in digital inclusion for people who have experience of homelessness. Through our Get Digital Scotland programme we provide training, resources, support and access to the digital world.

What’s new?

Our Get Connected 100 project will connect and support 100 people to get online. Each participant will receive a free digital device and unlimited connectivity for 12 months. In addition to free digital technology, frontline workers at Simon Community and in our partner organisations are trained as digital champions to provide person centred support based around a digital skills learning framework. The project will give people instant, easy access at all times, right in their pocket, and support to build skills and confidence to get online. 

Why is this needed? 

Research from the University of West of Scotland shows us that people who experience homelessness are among the most digitally excluded groups in our society. This is a severe disadvantage in life which has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. Due to COVID-19 we rely even more heavily on digital for many daily activities: socialising with friends, managing finances and finding reliable information, engaging with health services, getting the latest news and accessing entertainment. Digital has never been so critical to our lives.

Who will get access?

Get Connected 100 is being delivered by Simon Community Scotland services to people in Glasgow, Edinburgh and North Lanarkshire and alongside our Get Digital Partners throughout the rest of Scotland; CATH and Turning Point Scotland in Perth, Aberdeen Cyrenians in Aberdeen, Seascape in Ayrshire and Frontline in Fife.

Scottish Government backing 

The project is being funded by the Scottish Government. Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “I am delighted to fund this project to support 100 people experiencing homelessness get connected to the digital world. The pandemic has shown us that access to digital equipment, data and skills is a basic necessity and not a luxury. The funding will provide free digital devices, connectivity for 12 months and training in digital skills, as part of our £100 million winter support package to help people cope with additional financial pressures of winter and COVID-19.”

Building on our experience: Making a powerful difference

In May 2020, Simon Community Scotland funded a ‘Get Connected Pilot’ in Edinburgh to develop and test this approach. We wanted to make sure people facing isolation during lockdown could get support and be linked with loved ones and professional services.

The results for the people who were part of the pilot were life changing. 100% of participants said that getting a connected device and support though this pilot positively affected their lives. People were able to apply for jobs, find accommodation, connect with friends and family, learn languages, access benefits, manage finances and much more. Read more about the pilot here.

https://www.getdigitalscotland.org/news/get-connected-our-digital-access-pilot-delivers-amazing-results/

Our pilot demonstrated that when people have ownership of a digital device, unlimited connectivity and support from our digital champions, it opens up a whole world of opportunities! 

We’ve seen what a difference this approach makes and are excited to support 100 more people – from across Scotland – to access the benefits of the digital world. 


Get Digital Scotland will be publishing a report on the impact of Get Connected 100 – watch this space!

For more information about Get Digital Scotland, visit: www.getdigitalscotland.org or follow us on Twitter: @GetDigitalScot.

Get Connected gave 36 people who experience homelessness a smartphone with unlimited data.

Get Connected – Our Digital Access Pilot Delivers Amazing Results

A rapid response to support people during COVID-19

At the start of the COVID-19 lockdown, we ran a pilot to help people get connected and access support they needed. Through Simon Community’s Get Digital project, we gave 36 people a smartphone with unlimited calls, texts and data. Everyone participating in the pilot was already using our Housing Support service in Edinburgh. They were living in temporary accommodation (e.g. BnBs, and other council provision) and facing the most extreme forms of homelessness.

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