#ClickZero - Another Angle on Digital Poverty

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A short but sweet blog from me (compared to my usual ramblings!) on #ClickZero.

During the Covid 19 pandemic, Digital Poverty has become one of the most talked-about terms in the Salford VCSE sector and beyond! Digital poverty has had an impact at various levels; whether that's the ability of young people to access education, increasing isolation due to people being unable to afford data to connect with others, and the real challenges behind accessing digital services when you have no data (such as universal credit). All of that is before exploring peoples' ability to actually work safely and remotely.

In response to Covid, Salford CVS has offered support in a variety of ways, including providing grants to organisations for digital devices and connectivity and curating our digital librarywhich features advice about making your data go further.

Free access to key sites

In this blog I'm looking at trying to switch the problem around a little bit - what if that every time you accessed an essential service it didn't use your data allowance? Picture it - regardless of phone credit or wifi people are able to access their Universal Credit forms or access NHS information including the 111 websites.

I know it wouldn't stop the growing divide linked to digital poverty and the linked poverty premium, but it is a start. Several phone companies have already taken steps in this pandemic, making the gov.uk website and NHS.uk sites free to access whilst some companies like O2 have gone even further by making access to websites covering topics such as debt advice and mental health support also free of charge. If it can be done during a pandemic why can't it be done permanently?

#ClickZero campaign

This is where #ClickZero comes in - #ClickZero is a campaign calling for essential online public services to be zero-rated, which means provided free at the point of delivery for everyone. The ability to do this has been proven during the pandemic and it is inexpensive, effective and technically straight forward. If you agree with #ClickZero that this change should be made permanent there are several ways you can support: 

  1. Let your services users or beneficiaries know about the scheme especially if it helps ensure they access support
  2. Sign and support the petition to demonstrate the demand for the programme

Here to help

At Salford CVS we will continue to share information and opportunities surround digital both for yourselves as an organisation as well as your beneficiaries both via our bulletins, social media and our website but as always if you need anything don't hesitate to ask.

Our staff are here to try and help and if we can't help we usually know someone who can! 

0161 787 7795

office@salfordcvs.co.uk

Salford CVS
Author: 
Marie Wilson, Strategic Lead

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Salford CVS & Volunteer Centre
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5 Irwell Place 
Salford, M30 0FN

Tel: 0161 787 7795 
Email: office@salfordcvs.co.uk

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Salford CVS is the city-wide infrastructure organisation for the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector; providing specialist information, advice, development support and opportunities for influence and collaboration.

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This blog was first published in May 2020 as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.

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A short but sweet blog from me (compared to my usual ramblings!) on #ClickZero.