UK

Thousands of free tablet computers will be handed to people with learning difficulties

Thousands of free tablet computers will be handed to people with learning difficulties so they can stay connected with family during lockdown

  • 5,000 computer tablets will be given out in the hope of reducing loneliness
  • The internet-enabled devices will be given to people with learning disabilities
  • Scheme hopes to offer a sense of normality until the virus restrictions are eased 

Thousands of people with learning disabilities will be given free tablet computers to help them overcome their loneliness during the pandemic.

Some 5,000 internet-enabled tablets pre-loaded with data and free tech support will be available from next month.

It is hoped the devices will help users beat loneliness by reconnecting them with friends and family.

Some 5,000 internet-enabled tablets pre-loaded with data and free tech support will be available from next month [File photo]

Three-quarters of people with a learning disability say their wellbeing has been affected by the impact of coronavirus, according to recent ONS data.

Ministers point to other studies which have shown that technology can help people with learning disabilities to reduce feelings of loneliness as well as support their mental health and wellbeing.

Three-quarters of people with a learning disability say their wellbeing has been affected by the impact of coronavirus, according to recent ONS data [File photo]

Three-quarters of people with a learning disability say their wellbeing has been affected by the impact of coronavirus, according to recent ONS data [File photo]

The tablets initiative comes as part of the Government’s £2.5million Digital Lifeline Fund, which is targeted at people on low incomes. 

The scheme, which is being supported by charities Good Things Foundation and AbilityNet, hopes to offer a sense of normality until coronavirus restrictions are eased.

And it comes as the Daily Mail campaigns to raise funds for free laptops for thousands of children so they can take part in home schooling during the pandemic.

Digital minister Caroline Dinenage said: ‘The pandemic has been incredibly tough for disabled people who have struggled to get online for basic things like catching up with loved ones. The Digital Lifeline Fund will tackle this divide head on by putting thousands of devices in the hands of those who need them most.’

Helen Milner, chief executive of Good Things Foundation, said: ‘Staying connected is an essential lifeline [those with learning disabilites] depend on and must not do without.’

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