With inequality set to deepen in the economic aftershock of the Covid-19 pandemic, the VCSE sector must come together to lobby for improved access to technology, according to charity digital and marketing consultant Zoe Amar.
In an article on ThirdSector.com, she states that during the pandemic, the phrase 'We're all in the same storm, but not all in the same boat' is apt as while under lockdown conditions some of us have been on the sofa deciding what Netflix series to watch and enjoying pub quizzes on Zoom, others have had to choose between data and food.
Zoe said in the article: "We can no longer ignore the scale of this issue. Under lockdown, being online is a survival strategy. The new Lloyds Consumer Digital Index shows that nine million people are struggling to get online, while 5.9 million are struggling to turn on a device and 6.5 million are unable to open an app. What will this mean for the launch of the government’s 'track and trace' app?
"Solving this problem becomes more urgent by the day. Access to the right information and guidance online has become a lifeline during coronavirus."
Zoe advises that a good first step is to talk to your beneficiaries and find out the simple, low-cost steps you could take to provide them with digital access, as low tech is better than no tech. And in the meantime, organisations are calling on the government and funders to help close the digital gap and invest in helping the UK get online.
Read the full Third Sector article at thirdsector.co.uk/zoe-amar-covid-19-charities-action-digital-divide.