12 March 2021

NHS Lothian Charity Launches Connecting Communities Fund In Partnership With SCVO

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NHS Lothian Charity is delighted to announce the launch of the Connecting Communities Fund in partnership with the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.

Connecting Communities is a small grants funding opportunity to tackle digital and health inequalities, and will be managed by SCVO as part of its ongoing work to support individuals and organisations to get online and promote digital inclusion.

This programme can provide small grants of up to £5,000 for projects being delivered in City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian or West Lothian. The support given through the Fund will enable organisations to address digital exclusion through upskilling and the purchase of devices and/or connectivity to help local communities achieve better health outcomes.

Connecting Communities is one of three new launched by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations to support people across Scotland to gain essential digital skills and internet access.

    Sanjay Singh, Head of Funding Programmes at NHS Lothian Charity said:

    “NHS Lothian Charity is delighted to be working in partnership with SCVO to support communities across the region who are disproportionately affected by digital exclusion. During this pandemic, we have seen a clear move to more online services to help keep people safe. It is therefore more important than ever that we help support those communities who don’t currently have the technology nor the skills to access core public health services and information. Working together with SCVO and other third sector organisations across the region, we are providing vital funding through our COVID-19 Response Fund for devices and training which will help remove barriers to accessing essential health care, reduce this digital divide and keep these communities socially connected during these difficult times and beyond.”

    Ivan McKee, Minister for Trade, Innovation and Public Finance, said:

    “We’re all witnessing just how important being online is to help keep people connected, access goods and services, job hunt and find health information. I’m delighted to be able to announce funds supporting Scotland’s Digital Participation Charter for 2021.  Together with partners including BT, Cellnex and NHS Lothian Charity we’re making more than £700,000 available in small grants to support those who don’t have essential digital skills, helping them gain confidence and motivation to get online, making a massive difference in their lives.”

    David McNeill, SCVO’s Director of Development, said:

    “Over the last seven years the Digital Participation Charter Fund has supported 188 organisations – many in the voluntary sector – to help nearly 21,000 people get online. Supporting people to learn essential digital skills is key to tackling inequalities in Scotland – something never more needed than right now when many Scots have been forced to rely on technology to learn, work and communicate due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.”

    Peter Haynes of Cellnex said: 

    “Cellnex is delighted to support the next round of the Digital Participation Charter Fund, which looks to tackle digital inequality at local level across Scotland.  We are excited by the opportunity to help support a range of disadvantaged community groups and organisations in their ambitions to become ‘connected,’ digitally confident and to grasp the numerous opportunities of a digital society.”

    NHS Lothian Charity: Connecting Communities is open for applications until 12 noon on Wednesday, 31 March 2021 via the SCVO website.

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