A Tulse Hill partnership has launched a Crowdfunder appeal to help local people get and stay digitally connected during the pandemic.
Organisers say the move to remote delivery of many key services has left some people isolated and excluded because they cannot access them online.
One in six households in Tulse Hill is without either wifi or digital devices to stay connected, they say.
“The digital world we live in means that wifi access is no longer a luxury, it is a basic utility, with many households still excluded,” says the Connecting Tulse Hill Partnership.
They want to make sure that individuals are able to access the remote support they need.
Their Crowdfunder appeal is to raise money to buy and distribute 200 wifi-connected laptops to vulnerable people in Tulse Hill.
They would enable:
- People to apply for welfare support
- People to take part in online courses delivered by High Trees
- Children and young people to engage with remote school support
- Friends and families to stay connected to each other with video-calls.
- The partnership will help individuals set up laptops and get connected through High Trees Community Action department.
Colin Crooks, CEO of Tree Shepherd, said: “This fund looks to meet the urgent needs of Tulse Hill parents who have lost their income through this crisis and cannot afford the data or the equipment to stay on line to teach their children or access vital services, and we are very pleased to be able to play a role in helping them.”
The three local councillors said they frequently see the results of lack of connection in Tulse Hill, adding: “The stress of applying for jobs online is enormous when using a phone.
“There are difficulties, as well, accessing council services such as paying rent or council tax, or even online library services in an area where there is no physical library.
“Coronavirus has only exacerbated the difficulties that people were facing – widening inequality and making it more difficult for people to use essential services. “Enabling better connectivity will allow individuals and families to contribute to and benefit from wider resources.”
Tom Prestwich, headteacher of Jubilee Primary School, said its staff are working really hard “to ensure that a wide range of high-quality work is set for pupils whilst they are unable to come into school.
“It is vital that all pupils have the opportunity to access this work so that gaps do not open up between those able to access their learning online and those who can’t.
“Through this fund we will be able to support our families to reconnect with the children’s online learning.”