It was an honour to present Community Tech Aid with their Levelling Up Award for Closing the Digital Divide. Founded by Streatham Labour’s very own former Women’s Officer, Linda Heiden, Community Tech Aid delivered a total of 650 devices in their first year of existence, supporting 136 organisations and connecting 36 homes in the process. Through our joint Laptops for Learning initiative, we raised over £10,000 to supply hundreds of children in our area with devices to use during lockdown for remote learning.
The pandemic has been a reminder of the huge impact of digital exclusion in the UK and the clear need to improve connectivity. It’s not just that everyone deserves internet access; it’s that without it, you can’t access most of the things you need to get by in the 21st century.
It’s good to see local grassroots organisations springing up to address unmet social needs but we need stronger action to compliment this from the top too. Ensuring old and young alike have the things they need to get online should be a top priority for any serious government.
That means doing everything to make it easier for people to learn and maintain digital skills throughout their lives; whether by alleviating household poverty, funding better digital provision in schools, stopping companies from destroying unsold technology and introducing a right to repair.