We purchased 10 laptops to use in a lending scheme where women could take them home and use them on or offline to practice digital skills in their own time. We loaded them with basic training programmes and other resources and information.
The main outcome of this project was to enhance the learning opportunities for refugee and migrant women in our community by giving them extended access to digital devices whilst on our training courses. We want the most isolated members of our community to be able to stay connected through their digital devices and also to have the confidence and ability to utilize resources such as libraries when they fully open again.
25/10/2021 – 22/10/2022
Spreading good practice
As a lot of services have moved online, we wanted to be able to provide digital access and training to some of the more isolated and vulnerable members of our community. The libraries in our local area were closed and we wanted to offer a warm safe space with internet and tech support to isolated refugee women so they can stay connected with video calls to family, solicitors, support networks, health professionals etc. Many of the families we work with have neither the internet access, computers or digital literacy to do this in their own homes.
Involvement of New Scots in project
Both tutors of the IT class are New Scots and all the women who attended are New Scots too. We also held a focus group with 13 clients to hear about people’s experience with accessing our services. The overall feedback was positive, and people told us that they felt we had helped them.
We are really happy with how our project went. It was a simple concept and added an additional support into an already existing programme for New Scots Women. We requested funding for a Digital Library so that women who were taking part in our IT classes could bring laptops home with them between classes and practice what they had learnt each week. We bought the devices at the end of last year (beginning of the project date) and then lent them out to learners over the next 9 months. Our project concept was simple, but effective and were able to undertake it as planned. We are continuing with the lending library now, even though the project is finished.
We found that some of the women were (quite understandably) reluctant to return their devices after being loaned them.
We are working on a strategy to procure more devices and in the meantime to be able to signpost them to other organisations who can help.
The Lending Library is a useful service and a worthwhile investment.