Govan Housing Association receives digital boost

Govan Housing Association is leading the way in helping deliver a digital future for one Glasgow community.

Govan Housing Association receives digital boost

Paul MacAlindin with one of the tablets which are helping the Govan community

The Association is spearheading an unprecedented community effort to equip people with digital skills and even lend them devices to get online.

The effort is seen as a vital tool in the fight against COVID-19 which has, in many cases, left people isolated and in need of help.

Govan Housing Association has an impressive track record in helping its tenants access digital support with its hugely-successful Digital Lending Library.

This provides devices like tablets on a loan basis so people can learn to use them and embrace many of the services and opportunities that are often only accessible online.

Now as part of the Scottish Government’s emergency COVID-19 funding, Govan Housing Association has been awarded two amounts of substantial cash to turbo-charge its work. The money has come from the Supporting Communities Fund which has contributed £400,000 in total to the Govan community in recent months.

Govan Housing Association has received £24,200 to work with 10 community-based organisations supporting them to operate their own lending libraries and ensuring people considered most vulnerable can get online.

And in a second boost of £17,100, its digital lending library has been extended to a further five organisations and community councils with the added bonus of two months free data thrown in for recipients of the devices. So far 175 tablets have been handed out

The funding is also paying for ‘digital champions’ to support the learning process for those using the devices.

Fiona McTaggart, chief executive of Govan Housing Association, welcomed the funding. She said: “Undoubtedly, the past few months have been deeply worrying and challenging for most people and we have endeavoured with other local housing associations and organisations to do everything we can to offer a helping hand.

“We were delighted to receive two lots of funding which makes all the difference to our work on digital inclusion and to ensure more and more of our tenants and the wider community pick up digital skills. It has allowed us to extend the reach of our Digital Lending Library to get more people online with devices which helps defeat isolation and loneliness. It also helps people access training and for job seeking.

“We know all too well that the effects of the pandemic will be felt in Govan for some time to come and we are committed to working with others to always put our community first.”

Distribution of the Scottish Government’s Supporting Communities Funding has been undertaken by the ‘COVID-19 temporary emergency funding group’ made up of Linthouse, Elderpark and Govan housing associations, the four local councillors from Govan ward and regeneration organisation Glasgow Thriving Place.

The digital library effort has had strong support from the community.

Paul MacAlindin, who lives in Govan, added: “Whether I’m working for Govan as Artistic Director of our orchestra, The Glasgow Barons, or as a guy who chips in during lockdown, I completely get why we have to tackle digital and internet poverty head-on.

“It was my pleasure to be on the front line for Govan Housing Association distributing free tablets and laptops so kids could do their homework and Govanites could connect.”

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