Bobby Veitch, People Know How
Digital poverty affects over 1.7 million households and denies those affected access to digital necessities such as housing, employment, leisure, and financial information. Its impacts can be devastating and debilitating, without essential services and resources available it will continue to affect more lives.
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund supports People Know How’s Reconnect service which aims to increase digital inclusion for adults and families, providing digital devices, skills and connectivity to improve wellbeing.
Recently People Know How had the opportunity to address a health inequality for one individual, through access to digital technology. This came about through working with the Community Help and Advice Initiative (CHAI). CHAI is an organisation working in Edinburgh to provide welfare advice and it also receives funding through UKSPF. CHAI had been working with a young person impacted by type 1 diabetes and living in poverty with no access to digital devices. As a result, the young person was struggling with insulin injections and keeping on top of blood sugar levels.
At the time the Reconnect service had a surplus laptop that was above the specifications needed, which they were delighted to provide for the young person. She has since been able to be fitted with an insulin pump, allowing her to live her life without the stress and anxiety that can come with tracking blood sugar and injections. Without access to this laptop, her independence and access to things she enjoyed would have been stripped away due to her diagnosis.
“It makes a huge difference – without the laptop, she wouldn’t have been able to get a pump. So instead of getting 6-8 injections a day she can have a normal childhood.”
Jane Doyle, Diabetes Nurse
Digital exclusion can have a significant impact on those living with diabetes. The absence of digital technology can amount to a great deal of stress and difficulty, limiting options and reducing access to advances in healthcare. People Know How believe that digital and connectivity should be recognised as basic utilities, accessible for everyone, to ensure that all are on the same playing field when it comes to health. As it stands these modern interventions are only available for those who can afford devices, digital skills and connectivity, leading to the poverty gap widening and the health of those impacted declining.
You can read more on this story on People Know How’s blog