How the Digiknow Device Library is helping people during Covid-19

Borrowing a device from the DigiKnow device library is transforming people’s lives.

How the Digiknow Device Library is helping people during Covid-19

Picture above: Support with devices and data in Stockport during Covid-19

The Digiknow Device Library has already loaned more than 30 digital devices to Stockport residents who have no or limited access to the internet. These free to borrow tablets and laptops, many with free data packages, come with help to get online and stay safe online. During Covid-19 people without internet access have faced a range of difficulties and the stories behind the loans prove how being able to borrow a device is transforming people’s lives.

Councillor Kate Butler, Cabinet Member for Citizen Focus and Engagement says: “This device lending scheme is helping residents who want to do things online but are unable to do so. Some residents have no way of accessing the internet, others don’t have enough devices within a household or the right device for the task in hand. A smartphone is brilliant for keeping in touch, but not great for job search or schoolwork. The Covid-19 crisis has shown how important it is to be able to connect digitally and we’re delighted that so many residents are borrowing devices and getting access to the online help and resources they need. These stories show why our device lending library is so important.”

Some stories behind the loans:

John came across the DigiKnow Library through Stockport Homes. After a spell of homelessness, he had found accommodation but only had a basic phone, so had no way to update his Universal Credit journal, apply for jobs and check his emails. Using a borrowed tablet, John has searched and applied for jobs and has already secured a job interview.

Audrey hadn't used a computer for around ten years, since her husband died. She borrowed a tablet and data from the DigiKnow Library and with support from a community Digital Champion is gaining confidence in her digital skills. She has already enrolled on an online wellbeing course and is working towards her long-term aim of creating a CV to help her apply for volunteering positions.

During lockdown, Reza and his whole family had been using one pay as you go phone for school work, keeping in contact with his family and searching for work. Through the Digiknow Library he borrowed a laptop, making it easier for him to look for jobs and his children to complete their homework.

Sarah heard about the DigiKnow Library from Stockport Homes. Without access to a laptop, her children were struggling to complete their schoolwork on a smartphone. Thanks to the loan of two laptops, life is now a bit easier for them all.

During lockdown, Joy had been spending £30 a week on her pay as you go phone to keep in touch with her daughter in America. Joy borrowed a tablet and data sim card from the Digiknow Library and a Digital Champion has shown her how to make video calls. So now she can actually see her family and is saving money.

The DigiKnow Device Library has been set up by Starting Point, a member of Stockport’s ‘DigiKnow Alliance’, who are helping more people in Stockport become confident, independent users of the internet. If you're interested in borrowing a device, please call the DigiKnow Helpline on 07537 127095. The standard loan period is one month for a tablet and three months for a laptop. During the loan period, you’ll have support from a community Digital Champion via telephone and video, and Starting Point encourage all learners to join their online group learning sessions.