Eliminate Digital Poverty for Care Leavers
This is what I’m fighting for-clothing allowance, leaving care grant, birthday and Christmas allowance, WIFI and ID
Internet access is not a luxury its a essential
A discussion was held at a CLNM meeting on 14th March 2020 around internet poverty and how the lack of internet provision available to care leavers is affecting their growth in terms of education, interdependence and support networks. Care Leavers were more isolated than ever before and were relying on a virtual network of support, for some care leavers this just wasn't possible due to a lack of internet access.
This led CLNM to start a Digital Poverty Campaign which, 2 years on, is still ongoing and is a fundamental workstream for NHP and CLNM to ensure young people in House Projects are digitally connected.
What have CLNM achieved with their digital poverty campaign over the past 2 years:
- Throughout the Lockdown period between 2020-2022 CLNM ensured that all young people in House Projects could stay connected to their support systems by providing them with data packages and devices.
- All young people in Local House Projects across the country who had been paying for internet access themselves throughout lockdown were reimbursed £75 (the equivalent of 3 months unlimited data). This ensured that all young people in House Projects had equal access to internet provision and that support was transparent and fair for everyone.
- CLNM worked in partnership with their good friends at The Learning Foundation and Digital Poverty Alliance to ensure each House Project base had laptops available for all young people to use.
- NHP joined the Online Data Centre to enable Local House Projects to access the National Data Bank on behalf of all young people in Local House Projects- providing data packages for young people in Local House Projects in need.
- CLNM are working towards young people who are members of House Projects having WIFI for the first 12 months when they move into interdependent living. In order to provide value for money, this will be done in consultation with each Local Authority dependant on local needs. Islington House Project provide this as their leaving care offer for all care leavers in the borough of Islington and have seen great success with the number of care leavers in education, training and employment increasing.
- The long term goal is to ensure all care leavers across the country receive 12 months WIFI at the point they transition into interdependent living. This will form part of every local authority’s offer to care leavers and will require a change in policy. CLNM and NHP support the hundreds of organisations and charities working to reduce the digital divide in order to achieve this which started with CLNM Keep Care Leavers Connected campaign.