Scottish Government puts £600k into programme to support digital inclusion in mental health and housing

A total of 13 projects – supporting 1,500 citizens – have been awarded funds in first tranche of support given out by scheme launched earlier this year by Health and Care directorate

The Scottish Government has awarded a cumulative six-figure sum to support a range of projects intended to support digital inclusion in mental health and housing services.

The first tranche of funding has been awarded via a programme launched in March by the government’s Digital Health and Care Directorate. The support scheme has a total of £2.1m to dish out, of which £600,0000 has been allocated to 13 projects that submitted successful bids for support.

The initiatives in question are expected to help a collective total of 1,500 people access online services.

Successful bidders included:

  • Moray Wellbeing Hub – awarded £54,982 to create a programme through which 30 staff will help 300 local citizens to “improve digital skills and confidence and social connections”.
  • Queens Cross Housing Association – awarded £42,753 to continue various initiatives with digitally excluded groups, including coding programmes for young people and “digital cafes for older people”. About 190 people are expected to be supported as a result of the funding.
  • Shettleston Housing Association – awarded £54,980 to expand its digital inclusion work with older adults who are retired or out of work, including establishing “digital drop-in” sessions, through which 10 staff are expected to help 160 people.
  • Link Living – awarded £50,628 to provide digital skills sessions for about 130 young people with moderate to severe mental health conditions.
  • Simon Community Scotland – awarded £54,982 to incorporate digital skills training in housing services for about 130 homeless people.
  • Blackwood Homes and Care – awarded £55,000 to support about 150 older Scots living in supported accommodation in rural areas via the ongoing delivery of its ‘Digital Buddies’ initiative.
  • Scottish Association for Mental Health – awarded £51,270 to help about 100 people in supported living services via the expansion of in-person support schemes in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Perth, as well as offering more online support services.
  • Just Bee Productions – awarded £54,229 to support the delivery of digital inclusion initiatives for about 80 people accessing mental-health crisis services.
  • Aberdeen Foyer – awarded £54,867 to help about 75 young people in Aberdeenshire at risk of homelessness by providing devices and assisting with access to online tools in order “to improve access to supports and services and to reduce isolation”.
  • Saheliya – awarded £54,773 to support the delivery of “digital inclusion and language sessions” for about 72 marginalised women in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
  • Prospect Community Housing – awarded £31,310 to provide “digital drop-ins” for about 70 people with disabilities or other long-term conditions in the Edinburgh district of Wester Hailes.
  • Carr Gromm – awarded £54,667 to extend its Glasgow-based digital inclusion work, including the creation of “safe, online peer network to facilitate improved wellbeing through meaningful community connections”. About 60 people are expected to benefit from the extra funding.
  • Cyrenians – awarded £36,244, with which it will support about 37 people that are long-term unemployed, transitioning out of hospital care, or living in residential care. The funding will enable the organisation to “provide a digital hub at their farm, one-to-one support and in-depth digital skills support in Edinburgh and West Lothian”.

The Scottish Government-led scheme will run for another 18 months, during which an additional £1.5m will be awarded, while government and its public- and third-sector partners hope to gain “a shared understanding and learning of how best to support digital inclusion”.

Cabinet secretary for NHS recovery, health and social care Michael Matheson said: “Supporting people to feel more digitally confident so they can access the services they need online is absolutely vital and it is one of our long-standing commitments. This programme will see models tested that will help so many people gain the skills they need to improve their own health and know how to access the support that is available to them.”

Sam Trendall

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