From applying for jobs to buying groceries, access to the internet and digital technology like laptops and smartphones has never been so important. And we're determined to make sure that everyone in Middlesbrough can benefit from the opportunities that going digital can offer.
We know that being unable to get online can have a negative impact on working, looking for jobs, health, keeping in touch with family and friends, and education. So we want to make sure that everyone who wants to be online can get online, whether you're a resident or a business.
Middlesbrough Digital For All is the name we've given to our work to help individuals and businesses overcome any barriers to going digital. Our Digital Inclusion Strategy is the first step. The key aims of our strategy are:
- We will make sure children and families can access digital learning, and that no student misses out because they can't get online.
- We will make sure jobseekers can access skills and employment online.
- We will make sure people (particularly elderly people) can use technology to keep in touch, reducing isolation.
- We will support local businesses to trade online.
- We will make sure that town-wide connectivity plans (for example superfast or fibre broadband) support Middlesbrough's digital ambitions.
Our work to support people has already begun. Early in 2021, we pledged that every child would have access to an internet-enabled device to support their education. We spent £350,000 on laptops and tablets for more than 1,000 children who were at risk of being left behind in their schoolwork. We believe that Middlesbrough was the first town or city in the country to provide this kind of support.
Over the coming months, we'll be launching new projects and events to help people gain the skills, and access the technology, they need to get online.