Working closely with Northumberland County Council, North Tyneside Council, and Newcastle City Council, the Combined Authority has pledged £680k to help residents in the North of Tyne stay connected with key services during the coronavirus pandemic.
Building upon the Department for Education offer for Year 10 school pupils, the North of Tyne Digital Inclusion Scheme has been rapidly established to deliver equipment to residents disconnected from education, employment opportunities or are vulnerable to the impact of coronavirus.
Northumberland County Council, North Tyneside Council, and Newcastle City Council are working with local stakeholders to target residents who could benefit from the scheme.
So far, the Digital Inclusion scheme has supported 2000 residents, with a further 625 more to receive support over the coming months.
Over 1600 devices will be going to residents in school or adult learning to help them continue their education. The remainder will go to residents accessing employability provision and those in care homes.
The Combined Authority recognise the urgency for these devices and we’re working to ensure residents get support as quickly as possible to minimise disruption under these new conditions. We’re monitoring the situation to understand how this new lockdown will change residents need for these devices.
The North of Tyne Digital Inclusion Scheme is part of the North of Tyne Covid-19 Crisis Response Fund and will be delivered until May 2021.
Frequently asked questions
Who can access equipment?
The North of Tyne Digital Inclusion Scheme is open to residents living in Newcastle, North Tyneside or Northumberland. The programme will target residents engaged in:
Public funded schools and academies
Selected adult education provision (19+ learning)
Employability programmes such as Generation North East, Moving on Tyne and Wear, and local authority employability provision.
Local authority commissioned care homes.
At this time, equipment will be provided per household to ensure we are able to reach as many residents as possible. Local authorities are taking steps to identify households in need.
How do I apply to get support?
Each local authority has been working with partners in their area to identify households who do not have access to the internet. The scheme is not open to applications from the public and support will be provided to those previously identified. If you require access to equipment and are registered with any of the services above, please ask your point of contact within your service to check whether you are due to receive support.
Do I get the money to buy the equipment or will someone else buy it?
Individuals will not be expected to purchase equipment. The purchasing of equipment is being coordinated by our constituent authorities and distributed to residents through a range of local services and partners.
Do I get to choose what equipment I get?
Residents will be asked whether they need access to a device, internet or both. Where possible, the North of Tyne Digital Inclusion Scheme will align equipment provided with the Department for Education scheme offered to year 10 pupils. However, the local authorities will be working with local partners to understand where equipment may need to be adapted to provide a more suitable solution to tackle digital inclusion.
Do I have to give the equipment back?
All equipment is being provided on a cost-free loan basis to residents and must be returned. All residents accessing support will be expected to agree to the terms of conditions of the loan agreement before accessing equipment. By asking for equipment to be returned, we can support more residents to access online services when they need to.