Helping to bridge the digital divide in lockdown

02 June 2021

Summary: At MTVH, we understand the detriment of the digital divide, and by providing laptops for some of our residents during the pandemic we’re helping to bridge it.

Although transformation in technology continues at pace, many people across the country remain digitally excluded due not being able to afford devices or internet packages, or from a lack of skills and understanding of how things work online.

Digital inequality continues to rise and Covid-19 has left 1.9 million households with no access to the internet and tens of millions more reliant on pay-as-you-go services to make phone calls or access healthcare, education and benefits online. Unfortunately, those most impacted are far more likely to be those already affected by different challenges, including many MTVH residents.

The UK’s digital divide has never been more apparent than in the face of Covid-19, making tasks that were once difficult for the digitally excluded now closer to impossible. That’s why we are working hard to ensure more of our residents are digitally connected.

MTVH’s Empowering Futures team in particular, who aim to empower residents and communities, have been delivering meaningful support on digital connectivity, equipment, and skills. In March 2021, the team were able to provide 40 laptops to MTVH families and their children in London, Derby, and Nottingham.

The Empowering Futures team has worked alongside the MTVH Housing team to contact local schools to identify students who should be provided with additional support. In the East Midlands, Blue Bell Hill Primary School in St Ann’s, Nottingham, were provided with 4 laptops and Grampian Primary Academy in Sinfin, Derby, received 10 laptops.

Three schools in London including, Chalkhill Primary in Brent, received 8 laptops, Richard Atkins Primary in Clapham Park, Lambeth, received 8 laptops and Glenbrook Primary, also based in Lambeth, received 4 laptops.

A parent of a Richard Atkins Primary student said:

On behalf of our family, I say a big thank you to the reputable Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing and Richard Atkins Primary School for nominating our daughter for the donation. This has really made the family proud of our daughter for this wonderful gift and I believe this will encourage her further to improve on her studies and IT skills.”

Nottingham resident and parent of a Blue Bell Hill Primary School student said:

“I really appreciate the laptop, it’s done wonders in this house! Thank you so much, we were able to use it to access extra learning like Seesaw. I am so thankful, it’s not only helped the children, but it’s helped me, I am so grateful.”

The remaining 6 laptops were given to individual families identified by Housing colleagues.

MTVH’s Head of Strategic Partnership and National Delivery, Sarah Willis, said:

“The Empowering Futures team has been delighted to work in partnership with schools to support young residents. As the pandemic hit and schools closed many children and young people were trying to do their school work on mobile phones and this was having a serious impact on their life chances. Providing laptops has been one of the ways MTVH has been able to successfully support families across our geography.”

Although this donation has made a huge impact to the lives of these families, ultimately, we cannot make this change alone. We acknowledge the disparities of digital inequality and strive to do more in creating digital inclusion. That’s why MTVH has partnered with We are Digital, a social impact driven company with a purpose to deliver practical and positive solutions to break down the barriers of digital exclusion. Through the partnership, our residents will have the opportunity to join free online digital training to help build confidence and improved digital skills.

If you are a resident and would like to find out more information about We are Digital and the training that is available, please contact