COMMUNITY groups in Pembrokeshire will be able to loan equipment such as laptops and tablets to support more people get online and take part in digital activities.
Over the last 12 months, the pandemic has meant that much of life has moved online, including staying in contact with loved ones, shopping, pub quizzes, or finding out what is happening in your local community.
However, many people are missing out as they are not online.
For some people, it may be a choice, but for others, it may be because they do not have the equipment, skills, confidence, or connectivity.
To address this, a new partnership has been formed, called Pembrokeshire Digital Connections.
This brings together Community Hub partners Pembrokeshire County Council, Hywel Dda University Health Board and Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Services, as well as Digital Communities Wales and a number of other community partners.
Over the last year, many community groups moved to online sessions, which was really welcomed by people who were able to join as it meant that they were able to stay connected with friends and their local community.
However, not everyone was able to join and many groups did not have the equipment available to move to online sessions.
Now as Covid-19 measures relax, many community groups are starting to think about what activities they will be able to resume over the coming months.
For some, this will mean face-to-face activities, but it is also an opportunity to get online as one-to-one support can be offered to people who may need some assistance to build skills and confidence.
To support this, Pembrokeshire Digital Connections are inviting community groups across the county to apply for community digital pack loans.
Groups who register can apply to loan items such as a laptop, tablet, Mi-Fi box, and camera devices such as Facebook Portal. Alternatively, any community group interested in applying for a digital equipment pack can contact the Community Hub for an application form on 01437 776301
Successful groups can then use the equipment to support people in their groups and communities to get online and stay connected.
Successful groups will also be encouraged to access digital training, learning resources, and creative ideas on ways to support others in their communities to get online and stay connected.
Cllr Tessa Hodgson, the Pembrokeshire County Council Cabinet Member for Social Services, said:
“The pandemic has shone a light on how important the digital world is to our everyday lives.
“It has been our link and connection to loved ones, a simple way to shop and a way to find out information and support.
“However, we know that there are still too many people who are missing out on the digital world and all the benefits of getting online.
“Pembrokeshire Digital Connections will help bridge the gap with equipment to lend and support those who need assistance to get online.
“It’s likely that more and more aspects of everyday life will be available online in the future so it is important we give as many people as possible the opportunity to learn how to use digital devices and access the internet.”
Funding for the project has been available through the West Wales Care Partnership Transformation Fund.