Prior to the COVID 19 Lockdown, young people at the Care Leavers National Movement (CLNM) were discussing Internet Poverty and how it affects so many care leavers, not just in House Projects but across the Country.
The effects of internet poverty were heightened when we were put into lockdown 4 weeks ago. It has never been more important for care leavers to stay connected than right now.
Many of you, despite being in lockdown, will have loved ones living with you or at the end of the phone. You may be catching up with friends and family via a virtual quiz or virtual exercise class, benefiting from the privileges of having unlimited internet data and devices to enable these social interactions to occur. We want that for our care leavers. We want them to feel socially connected rather than lonely.
However, there’s one familiar thing that prevents them from reaching out to people and that’s the restrictions on data allowances that are dictated by their small budgets, as well as the limited access to suitable devices to enable virtual communication – a Nokia 32 from 15 years ago just won’t cut it anymore!
In true CLNM style we decided to do something about it…
On the 6th April 2020, CLNM and the National House Project (NHP) launched a Just Giving Campaign to raise monies to enable care leavers in House Projects across the Country to stay connected with their support networks during the COVID 19 lockdown. Along with the Just Giving Campaign we have been hard at work applying for grants to aid this campaign.
Today, we have achieved our first milestone! Every young person in a House Project across the Country has access to a smart phone and 3 months’ worth of unlimited data, calls and text messages!
We have yet to receive monies to cover this expenditure but there was an urgency to making sure young people that live alone are connected. 45 young people have benefited from receiving phones and/or data packages.
This is such a lifeline to so many young people and we want to thank everybody that made this possible. We must thank our friends of The National House Project; Donald Insall Associates and Changing Minds Uk for their donations and ongoing support. Also, thanks to The Staffordshire Community Foundation and The National Emergency Trust who provided Stoke-on-Trent House Project with a grant towards the internet poverty faced in their area.
We are now looking to support all young people beyond the next three months with their data packages incl. those who haven’t yet moved in to their House Project property. Our ambition is to ensure that all care leavers in the House Project also have access to tablets/laptops and Wi-Fi – there is still much more to do!
CLNM are the voice of the NHP and have the energy and drive to deliver on new ideas. They are active citizens driven by their experiences to improve outcomes for care leavers. Please continue to support the Care Leavers National Movement via Just Giving!