Barclays Community Fund has donated £100,000 to support people digitally excluded and disadvantaged by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Partnering with social change charity Good Things Foundation on the Everyone Connected programme, the bank will be helping to support households that require computers and mobile phones to support their needs.
Through training and advice, the programme also aims to give people confidence and more digital skills.
Helen Milner chief executive at Good Things Foundation said: “It’s vital that we continue to support disadvantaged households that don’t have internet access in the current pandemic.
"Through work with our community partners we know that digital access has been a lifeline to thousands of people during lockdown; the need for urgent collective action to fix the digital divide has never been greater.”
Phone system CircleLoop has announced it will be providing free business telephone services to any educational organisation, healthcare provider or charity that is facing remote working challenges, due to the second national lockdown.
The free service will be available for three months until the end of January 2021 to new customers who need to facilitate remote, mobile or flexible working at short notice.
The internet-based phone system will provide users with the option to use online calling, call menus and greetings, voicemail transcription and a range of other features in desktop and mobile applications.
Damian Hanson, co-founder of CircleLoop said: “We recognise the continued issues that the Coronavirus outbreak is causing for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
“We helped over 500 charities, educational and healthcare providers earlier in the year when we went into lockdown so as a team we wanted to do something again to try and help in any way possible.”
Wirral Council has launched a new local contact tracing system to help identify and support people who have been exposed to COVID-19.
The new tracing system is a partnership between the Council’s Public Health team and Birkenhead- based contact centre business, The Contact Company. The company employs almost 2,000 people in Wirral and is now one of the largest employers in the area.
Councillor Janette Willamson, leader of Wirral Council commented: “By Wirral Council partnering with The Contact Company, a local business that employs thousands of people in Wirral, we can maximise our resources and target support where it is needed most. The Contact Company is undertaking this work free of charge for us because like me they want to see our numbers fall and the pressure on our NHS ease.”
The local contact tracing system will not replace the national system, but will provide local insight and knowledge. It will also be an additional aid when trying to reach people the national system cannot get in touch with.
As part of a commitment made at the start of the year to help one million small British businesses stay open, Google has partnered with digital skills charity Digital Boost to offer 10,000 hours of free mentoring.
The mentor scheme connects UK small businesses and charities with the company’s Digital Garage coaches and employees to offer one on one support and guidance that will help them get their businesses found online.
Topics covered include how to build a strong profile on Google My Business, how to attract customers through local listings, and how to increase customer sales through social media, aiming to help restart or adapt businesses to operate in a new post-lockdown “normal”.
Ronan Harris, managing director, Google UK, commented: “Local businesses are the lifeblood of our communities. Like millions up and down the country, we want to help small businesses both survive and thrive.”
The full piece of the above appears in the November/December 2020 print issue. Subscribe today to have all our latest articles delivered right to your desk.