Getting Oxfordshire Online is a new initiative that refurbishes donated devices, and passes them to people who need them. It also helps people to access the data, training and support they need to get online.
Through a collaborative, partnership approach, Getting Oxfordshire Online is putting the infrastructure in place to deliver a sustainable, long-term solution to the problem of digital exclusion.
It is doing this through by setting up hubs across the county, bringing together organisations with the necessary skills and experience, and learning from existing initiatives that have already been successful in tackling this issue.
Our focus so far:
At the heart of our approach are the local hubs that we are establishing across the county where devices can be donated, refurbished and redistributed to those who need them. Three hubs in Oxford, Bicester and Didcot have already been set up, and will offer advice and support to beneficiaries as well as equipment.
In order to be successful, we need support from businesses and the general public. Devices they donate to their local hub will be wiped securely and refurbished, before being passed on to those who need them. Key early donations from organisations such as Bouygues have kicked off the process.
Why Oxfordshire, why now?
It is estimated that up to 40,000 people in Oxfordshire are not online.
Digital exclusion is a long-term, existing issue that has been highlighted by COVID-19. The pandemic has spurred people into action, and there is an opportunity to maintain the momentum. There are thousands of unused internet-enabled devices that could be refurbished to meet the demand.
The COVID-19 effect on digital inclusion
The impact of the pandemic has highlighted that without digital access you are genuinely excluded from much of life. Many families experienced home schooling without suitable devices. Loneliness and isolation in older age increased because of lack of access and skills.
If you are a school or an organisation working with people who need devices and can’t afford to buy them, please contact your local hub to discuss your needs.
If you are an individual looking for a device, we can still advise you through a hub, but normally need a referral from a partner organisation. Contact one of our hubs to enquire.
Our directory of support and training is the best place to start if looking for a skills course or just hoping for a friendly face to show you the ropes. As the initiative develops, we will add more providers to this directory.