Funding available for devices, data and digital skills support for people with learning disabilities.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

 Applications are now open to apply for devices, data and digital skills support for people with learning disabilities, through Digital Life line funding. The new Digital Lifeline scheme will fund 5,000 internet tablets preloaded with data and free tech support for those facing a combination of digital exclusion and cost as a barrier, to internet access and increased social isolation caused by coronavirus.

The application timescale is extremely short with the deadline for applications is 12pm on Monday 15 March.

The £2.5 million Digital Lifeline fund is funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and delivered by Good Things Foundation, in partnership with AbilityNet. The project is also supported by trusted expert organisations such as Learning Disability England, the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) and Digital Unite.

The funding comes as recent ONS Study, Coronavirus and the social impacts on disabled people in Great Britain found that nearly 3/4’s (74.6%) of all people with a learning disability questioned by the ONS believe their wellbeing has been affected by the impact of COVID-19, compared to only 1/3 (37%) of non-disabled people questioned.

A further study, led by Jane Seale, Professor of Education in WELS: Keeping connected and staying well: The role of technology in supporting people with learning disability during the coronavirus pandemic found that if people with learning disabilities have the right support and access to technology, then this had a positive effect on their mental health during the pandemic however Jane Seale also noted there are many people with learning disabilities who have not been able to use technology to stay connected during the pandemic due to a lack of access to technology and of in-home support.

Applications are welcome from organisations operating in England that support people with learning disabilities, including self-advocacy groups, community-based organisations and those that provide support to people where they live.

As an emergency response project, applicants should be prepared and able to begin immediate delivery of the Digital Lifeline programme.

Who is eligible for support from the digital lifeline fund?

To be eligible for a device and data from Digital Lifeline, applicants must:

  • Live in England; be 18 years old or over
  • Have a learning disability or learning disabilities - mild, moderate or severe (also includes disabled people who have additional learning disabilities)
  • Be digitally excluded – this means they can’t afford internet access and their own appropriate device.
  • An appropriate device is suited to their needs and so can enable them to easily and confidently perform key online tasks, for example joining a group video call or booking a GP appointment.

Eligible organisations must:

  • Know at least 10 people who meet the eligibility criteria
  • Attend a mandatory introductory webinar about the project
  • Be ready to move quickly on this project
  • Register people and ask them some questions about what they need
  • Receive, setup (based on initial assessment results) and deliver the devices to recipients
  • Support device recipients remotely based on the goals identified in their assessment - approximately 3 hours
  • Fill out an exit survey for device recipients 3 - 4 weeks after they get their device

As well as the devices and data, delivery partners will get a grant of £100 for every person they support; the minimum is 10 people + a grant of £1,000. More than 10 devices/£1,000 may be available to a single delivery partner, depending on demand.

Find out more

For more information about programme delivery, and the conditions of the funding, please read the Digital Lifeline Application Description, Guidance and FAQs before starting your application.

The Good Things Foundation team will be hosting a live Zoom call, tomorrow afternoon – 2pm on Wednesday 10th March, to provide more information about the programme and answer any questions. This session aims to help interested organisations understand if they can support the delivery of Digital Lifeline.


If you require any further information please visit the Good Things Foundations website here.