Free tablet and laptop devices being offered to Stockport residents who have no access to the internet

  • Residents can loan a device and data for free if they lack resources to get online
  • 35 devices have been loaned to families and elderly citizens so far
  • Council-funded scheme is latest attempt to equip Stockport's population digital skills

Stockport residents without access to the internet are being offered free tablet and laptop devices to help them stay connected during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The DigiKnow Device Lending Library is offering the devices – as well as free data packages – on loan to families and elderly people who otherwise would have no means of getting online.

The initiative was set up by Starting Point – a member of Stockport’s Digital Inclusion Alliance – after they were awarded £10,000 by Stockport council.

The programme comes as the latest attempt in making sure as many people as possible are able to carry out basic digital tasks such as staying connected with family and friends, applying for jobs and completing schoolwork during Covid-19.

The programme offers one-month long tablet loans and three-month long laptop loans to those in need, as well as access to a ‘digital champion’ who can provide advice on how to get online and use the internet safely.

Councillor Kate Butler said: “This device lending scheme is helping residents who want to do things online but are unable to do so.

“Some residents have no way of accessing the internet, others don’t have enough devices within a household or the right device for the task in hand. A smartphone is brilliant for keeping in touch, but not great for job search or schoolwork.

“The Covid-19 crisis has shown how important it is to be able to connect digitally and we’re delighted that so many residents are borrowing devices and getting access to the online help and resources they need.”

According to Stockport council, 28% of the town’s population make only limited use of the internet whilst a further 13% do not use the internet at all. Access to the internet was limited further this year when libraries and other places with public Wi-Fi were forced to close.

At the end of August 2020, 35 devices had been loaned out to residents so far.

If you or anyone you know would benefit from borrowing a device, please call the DigiKnow Helpline on 07537 127095 to find out more.