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Connecting Scotland - supporting the most vulnerable to get online

01 Dec 2020

Connecting Scotland is a Scottish Government programme set up in response to coronavirus. 

Throughout the coronavirus crisis, the internet is keeping us connected to friends and family, informed and entertained, and able to learn, work, shop and access health information and other public services. However, some people can’t access these benefits because they don’t have the confidence, kit and connectivity at home.

The Connecting Scotland initiative aims to get 50,000 digitally excluded households online by the end of 2021. To date, Connecting Scotland has secured £43 million funding and currently 9,000 households are receiving kit with immediate benefits being felt.

It provides iPads, Chromebooks and support to develop digital skills for people who digitally excluded and on low incomes.

Phase 1 (April – July 2020) focused on those who were at risk of isolation due to coronavirus because they were in the extremely high vulnerability group (‘shielding’) or the higher risk of severe illness group.

List of projects successful in Phase 1 of Connecting Scotland


     Phase 2 launched on 18th August and is focused on:

  • households with children, or where a child is normally resident (this includes pregnant women with no child in the household)
  • care leavers up to the age of twenty-six (in line with eligibility for aftercare support)

A second round of applications for Phase 2 opened on 24th November.

On 16th November the Digital Inclusion – Connecting Residents in Scotland’s Care Homes initiative launched to provide iPads and internet connectivity in residential care settings.

There is also a separate Scottish Government programme to provide 25,000 laptops or tablets, with internet access, for disadvantaged pupils to support learning outside school.

How it works 

To reach these people, Connecting Scotland collaborates with local councils, public and third sector organisations who are already working with them.    

Organisations and local councils get support from SCVO. This includes:   

  • kit – internet enabled devices  
  • connectivity – through mobile data  
  • training and support – for staff and volunteers to become ‘digital champions’ to support people to use the internet confidently and safely.   

Connecting Scotland is a partnership between the Scottish Government, local councils and SCVO. It’s supported by a range of organisations from across Scotland and the UK.   

The Scottish Government funds the programme.   

Can I get involved?

Each local Council has been provided with an allocation of devices to distribute to people living in their area.

Organisations working with people in the target groups for Phase 2 can apply for devices to distribute.

Registered care homes can apply directly to the Connecting Residents in Scotland’s Care Homes initiative.

Unfortunately, we are not currently able to accept referrals directly for individuals. However, find out how you can get support to help people get online safely.