WDP’s service users will receive SIM cards with free mobile data (and texts and calls) via the Good Things Foundation’s National Databank.
This new initiative will support service users to access online groups and support and manage day-to-day tasks. The pilot has started in WDP’s Brent, Cheshire West and Chester, Greenwich and Merton services with the intention of rolling out to other services in the future.
Anna Whitton, CEO of WDP, said: “We’ve been working with service users to explore access to and the benefits of online resources and support. Very quickly it became clear that one of the most significant barriers to access was the cost of data. It’s great to have been able to find a solution to this specific issue, which responds directly to the needs of our service users and will also respond to digital inclusion issues more broadly.”
Annabel Hudson, BRIC Coordinator at WDP Merton said: “We have many service users who are experiencing data poverty and are unable to afford data. This can have a significant impact on their recovery especially considering many groups and mutual aid in the community are delivered through online meetings and groups. Those who do not have access to Wi-Fi and are unable to afford data for their phone are excluded from accessing a variety digital support which would greatly benefit their recovery from substance use as well as other aspects of their lives, such as the ability to look for and apply for jobs. Having access to data will open many doors and provide many more opportunities for disadvantaged service users.”
WDP has also received a Digital Inclusion Capability Grant from the Good Things Foundation to purchase laptops and Chromebooks to set up ‘IT cafes’ for service users in two WDP services.
Support provided through the IT cafes will include:
- Access to the internet and support to set up an email account
- Facilitating access to essential online forms (e.g. GP registration/appointment) and documents
- Basic IT skills training e.g. using Microsoft Word and access to online resources
- Facilitating access to free certified online courses
- Bills and debt management resources and advice
- Employability resources, job searching and application form support.
To find out more about the Good Things Foundation’s National Databank, visit https://www.goodthingsfoundation.org/databank/
Read the full blog post here.
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