UNITED’s first rapid awards bridge the digital gap
[First published by LBHF Council on 23 November 2020]
More than £8,000 in grants has been sent to local groups responding to the winter Covid-19 lockdown, including support for volunteers supplying reconditioned tablets and laptops to low-income households.
The money has come from the charity UNITED in Hammersmith & Fulham, working in partnership with Hammersmith & Fulham Council, and will help fund frontline community activity in the pandemic.
A mix of generous donations from members of the public and local businesses have made the latest grants possible. But more help is urgently needed to support the neighbourhood groups and volunteers who assist others.
Among the grant receivers is Ready Tech Go – a group which tackles the digital divide by reconditioning donated computers so children in low-income families can access the internet and do homework online.
Tomas Evans, of Ready Tech Go, explained: “Now, more than ever, connection to the online world is essential for wellbeing. This grant means we will be able to connect more people digitally, alleviate feelings of isolation and improve mental health and job prospects.”
The volunteer group also enable anyone who cannot access basic online services to get connected, while also allowing refugees and older people stay in touch with their families.
Cllr Sue Fennimore, Deputy Leader at H&F Council, said that Ready Tech Go was making a real difference. “It’s a group which is helping bridge the gap to allow isolated and marginalised people gain the benefits that internet access brings. It’s great to see UNITED once again enabling volunteers to give help where it is most needed,” she said.
The full list of groups benefiting from £8,137 of Winter Appeal grant aid are:
Citizens Advice in Hammersmith & Fulham – £1,000
Providing dongles and handsets to volunteer advisers supporting people who are unemployed or self-isolating.
Minaret CC – £1,000
Delivering culturally relevant food parcels to Somali families.
Notting Hill Genesis Housing Association – £140
Buying mobile phone and tablet Sim credit for isolated people in their H&F care homes.
Old Oak Primary School – £997
Supplying mini Christmas hampers to elderly residents, to alleviate loneliness and to check in on them, door to door, while delivering.
People Arise Now – £1,000
Supporting women, ex-offenders and their families via weekly workshops on health and wellbeing, together with phone counselling, video calls and fruit and veg packs.
Ready Tech Go – £1,000
Technological equipment and support to older people, children and families on low incomes who lack digital connection.
RJVN8 Mental Health – £1,000
Funding an extra first call responder and 200 counselling hours for those with mental health needs.
Saint Andrews Fulham Fields Homeless Project – £1,000
Helping homeless people with food cards and takeaway meals, and paying for two gazebos to shelter them while collecting food.
St Pauls’ Hammersmith Church – £1,000
Providing Bags of Blessings in partnership with Bishop Creighton House for those in food poverty, including children from St. Paul’s primary, West London Refugee Centre, clients of St Paul’s money advice centre (Crosslight), and those shielding in the parish.
Savraj Kaur of UNITED thanked those whose donations had made the grants possible, but urged more to give so the funding of frontline groups can continue through the winter.