Helping rural jobseekers in Northumberland through the lockdown

Rural jobseekers being supported by a Northumberland project have received new tablets so they can stay connected during the Covid-19 crisis.

By Ben O'Connell
Tuesday, 12th May 2020, 11:29 am
Updated Thursday, 21st May 2020, 1:24 pm

Three members of Community Action Northumberland’s (CAN) rural employment hubs have been among the first to benefit from the DevicesDotNow scheme.

This new initiative is asking businesses to donate tablets, smartphones and laptops, as well as connectivity in the form of sim cards, dongles and mobile hotspots for distribution to some of the 1.9 million households who don’t have access to the internet, as we face a socially-distanced world with coronavirus.

Since the lockdown started and the rural employment hubs closed their doors, CAN has been working hard to make sure it is still able to provide support to people in rural Northumberland who are unemployed.

It has started circulating a dedicated e-newsletter to existing clients, and any others who approach them, with useful information on how to access its services as well as the wider employment support services of other partners under the auspices of the Bridge project in Northumberland. This obviously requires people to have internet access.

According to CAN’s weekly newsletter, the donated tablets are already having a big impact.

Susan, from the Amble Hub, said: “After a telephone call with my Bridge worker Andrew, I gratefully obtained a tablet from Good Things Foundation.

“I cannot tell you how happy I am. This has allowed me to enrol on a course studying, How does the body use DNA as a blueprint. I studied biology at school and genealogy has always been one of my greatest interests.

“During lockdown, this tablet will be a godsend, not only academically but socially and leisurely. I am able to keep in touch with friends, play games and watch catch-up TV that I have missed.

“Without my Bridge worker Andrew Beresford, this would not have happened and I am truly thankful.”

Eric, from the Alnwick Hub told CAN: “Here I stay, here I play with my tablet. It has given me something to keep my mind occupied and helped get me to play with some technology, something I wouldn’t normally do.

“I usually use my hands, more manual than technical. So I am learning the technical stuff and getting on.

“This will help me to get back into work, improve my computer skills and keep in touch with my sister who lives abroad during these difficult times. Thanks to the Bridge project for this support.”

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