Approximately £5 million of European Social Funding (ESF) is available to help address the digital divide in response to COVID-19.

This Call seeks to address two of the main ‘access’ issues associated with digital exclusion. The first is that of having physical access to the internet, ie a device that will allow the user to access the internet. The second is the issue of data poverty.

Applications are invited from organisations to deliver short-term activity to existing ESF participants as a ‘bolt-on’ to the ESF support they are currently receiving. The short-term activity will consist of projects procuring and loaning an appropriate device (eg tablet, laptop) and providing a three-month allowance of data, provided via a data dongle, to existing ESF participants. Activity will also include a small amount of set up support to enable users to understand functionality and get online.

Projects can be funded at 100% ESF through this Call. No upper or lower financial limit will be applied to project applications made against this Call. This will enable smaller, locally based organisations to apply for funding and also provides scope for larger organisations to apply to deliver larger scale projects where they have identified sufficient demand for provision.

Applications are invited to deliver the activity across England, excluding London.

All activity to enable participants to receive the equipment, any initial set up support, and defrayal of all expenditure must be completed by 31 December 2020.

Applications must be submitted by 30 September 2020.


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