Govan Digital Lending Libraries provide key digital connections during Covid-19

DB Comms has supported Govan Housing Association offering technical advice, hardware support and mobile broadband packages. In order, to help underpin its digital response to Covid-19 by helping facilitate projects like the ‘Digital Lending Libraries’.

Govan Digital Lending libraries have been carrying out incredible work during the #covid19 pandemic. This helps to increase access and connectivity locally to individuals most excluded during this time.

What are the Govan Digital Lending Libraries?

“The project aims to increase access to devices and connectivity locally to individuals most excluded through the Covid-19 pandemic. We aim to provide partner organisations with technology, support and training to allow them to operate their own lending libraries. Allowing them to reach those most in need.”

What activites have the project carried out since receiving funding?

“In our Round 1 and Round 2 funding, we deployed a total of 175 devices with 2 months unlimited data to 16 organisations. These organisations have been operating agile services in response to the Covid-19 crisis across the greater Govan area.” These included…

  • Elderpark Housing Association
  • Linthouse Housing Association
  • Glasgow Life
  • Plantation Productions
  • Unlock Employment
  • Gilded Lily
  • Govan HELP
  • Govan Youth Information Project
  • Make Do and Grow
  • NSPCC
  • Aberlour
  • Sunny Govan Radio Station
  • The Glasgow Barons
  • The Govan Stones
  • Urban Roots
  • The Preshal Trust

We also provided 2 rounds of Digital Champion Training via the Mhor Collective which saw 15 staff/volunteers from each organisation trained on how to support individuals remotely and build basic digital skills.

How has the project made a difference to the lives of people and communities being supported?

Individuals receiving devices identified several ways in which the devices and connectivity they received made a positive impact to their lives, allowing them to…

  • Use Social Media
  • Entertainment Purposes
  • Updated COVID-19 Information
  • Shopping
  • Online Learning
  • Accessing Support

Individual comments highlighted the importance that the device had played in their experience of lockdown:

“It’s helped me and my brother by helping us to communicate with people and accessing school work. We really appreciate you all for helping by loaning us these devices”.

“It’s made it easier for my Art group and keeping in touch with friends and family through Zoom also great for online shopping, games and great for information. “It’s made a crucial difference to my life. In my opinion being provided with a digital tablet with data for internet meant I had access to daily covid updates… it allowed me to take care of my medical condition by emailing my Dr’s practice for prescriptions especially during lockdown”

“It allowed me to do volunteer community journalism ( at a safe and social distance) for a local community radio station”

“having this device and being online has really enhanced my life and given me access to crucial services which I would not have been able to have. A long term contract with a mobile phone credit and data is expensive, so it has positively enhanced my wellbeing and mental health as I was and felt connected during this stressful and difficult time as I am a carer to a person with a mental illness too”

What impact did this have on organisations?

Participating third sector organisations recognised that

having devices as an additional resource was a benefit in multiple ways including:

  • Allowing them to reach more people
  • Engagement with people previously unknown to their services
  • Development of new services

Organisations Responses:

How has the project made a difference to the lives of people and communities being supported?

Organisation 1

“We were worried about many of [organisation name] volunteers when lockdown began, as a signficiant proportion of these individuals previously reported volunteering time as their primary source of social engagement… These devices we received allowed volunteers and staff to collaborate on projects and keep the momentum of our community output going through difficult times”

Organisation 2

“The fact that they felt cared for and connected at this time was a big deal for some.”

Organisation 3

What challenges have you been faced with when delivering the project?


Supply of Devices
This project required that we buy high numbers of the same model of tablet so that each individual organisation and digital champion supporting tenants had the same experience and platform to use. This created a small logisitcal challenge in getting all devices shipped.

Data Activation
Our devices all offered 2 months unlimited data as part of the lending offer, however, we were not able to activate each device individually due to the high numbers. We therefore allowed participating organisations a week or two between receiving their devices and data activation to allow them to deploy devices to recipients. If an organisation wasn’t able to get all devices out in time or there was a delay in getting a device out to an individual that meant some of the 2 months data was used before they received it.

Evaluation

As means of evaluating the project we developed two separate surveys for participating organisations and individual recipients. For organisations, these surveys were emailed round and undertaken without much difficulty. For recipients we used the Association’s internal text messaging service to send several texts over the course of the project inviting individuals to let us know their thoughts on the impact it has had and challenges they faced. Uptake on this survey was relatively low with only 10% of learners participating.

Read the Full Article: Connecting Individuals during Covid-19