Stockport Local Fund award for Stockport’s first digital device lending library

Digital devices will soon be available for residents to borrow

Stockport Local Fund award for Stockport’s first digital device lending library

Stockport Council has awarded almost £10,000 to Starting Point Community Learning Partnership, to set up Stockport’s first digital device lending library. Devices will be free to borrow and will come with free access to the internet. Support getting online will be available from community Digital Champions.

The Covid-19 crisis has shown that being online now feels essential rather than optional, with access to online services and shopping being particularly important for residents who are shielding. Our DigiKnow Helpline and Digital Champions have been helping lots of people who want to improve their digital skills and confidence, but some residents who would like to learn are prevented by the cost of buying a device and connecting to the internet. These are the people that the device lending library will help.

Councillor Kate Butler, Cabinet Member for Citizen Focus and Engagement says: “This is a fantastic opportunity that will help more Stockport residents to become confident internet users. Our device lending scheme will reach new groups of residents who don't have digital skills but would like to learn. We put people at the heart of everything we do, and we want everyone to benefit from the internet, which can help you stay better informed, feel connected, save money, and lead healthier, happier lives.”

Councillor Amanda Peers, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Neighbourhoods says: “Stockport Local Fund has been supporting the tremendous work of our voluntary and community sector for two years. This grant is another example of the amazing ideas that community groups have, that make a difference to the places they live in. I would encourage residents to use your new access to the internet to find out what’s happening in your area and how you can join in through our Stockport Local online community directory.”

Ryan McMurdo from Starting Point adds: “Around 1 in 5 people in Stockport have no or little access to the internet. These people are more likely to be unemployed or on a low income and may be prevented from going online by the cost of access. Being able to borrow a device and having support from our Digital Champions to use that device, will help them to become digitally included, stop them missing out on potential employment opportunities and bring wider social benefits.”

We expect that devices will be available to borrow from late July. The standard loan period will be one month, but longer loans may be possible. If you would be interested in borrowing a device, please call the DigiKnow Helpline on 07537 127095.