Leaving no Londoners behind: Get Online London
Our Group CEO, Helen Milner OBE, writes about the importance of Get Online London and the push to fix the digital divide.
With commitment from the Mayor of London and the London Office of Technology & Innovation (LOTI) to leave no Londoner left behind in our increasingly digital world, we’re working together to bring together a pan-London, holistic, digital inclusion service.
As the cost-of-living crisis worsens, it is more important than ever that we help the 270,000 digitally excluded Londoners get the help they need to access and to use the internet to benefit their lives.
LOTI’s 2021 Digital Inclusion Research revealed that there are over 120 different initiatives seeking to address digital inclusion in the capital. The London Digital Inclusion Service is providing the underpinning support for hyperlocal initiatives, and a common offer for community organisations and Londoners. Get Online London can operate at scale in the capital by working in partnership with hyperlocal organisations who reach the excluded people.
What is Get Online London?
Get Online London is a city-wide, holistic approach that will tackle digital exclusion in London. The initiative will help local community organisations (charities, libraries, housing providers, foodbanks, citizens advice bureaux, et al) to support digitally excluded Londoners to get online by providing access to devices, free mobile connectivity and the support to get the basic digital skills they need to thrive in the online world.
Good Things Foundation’s mission to fix the digital divide has three essential elements, and these will make up Get Online London too:
- Devices: We’re asking businesses and other large organisations to donate devices and equipment to our London Device Bank, which will provide free devices to people in need
- Data: We’re giving out free mobile connectivity data through the National Databank, helping to end data poverty in the UK.
- Support: We’re supporting people to use devices, data and to get the basic digital skills they need through Get Online London.
If you’re a community organisation based in London, or if you know a community organisation or charity that you think could benefit, then join Get Online London’s network – you’ll get access to data, devices and the resources you need to digitally upskill the people you support.
Can you donate used devices to Get Online London?
We know that businesses are committed to social value and committed to increasing how they can support climate change mitigation and reduce their carbon footprint.
For Get Online London to have maximum impact, we need donations of devices and other technology from businesses and public and private organisations . We’ve partnered with Reconome, experts in IT logistics and data assurance, to sustainably refurbish old devices and give them a second life. All donated devices will be cleaned, wiped, tracked and certified for reuse. Any unusable devices are harvested for parts, resold or sustainably recycled to generate funds.
By donating to Get Online London you can commit to the circular economy and reduce your CO2, and have a social impact on digitally excluded Londoners. Definitely a win-win opportunity.
We know that having access to a device is a lifeline for many, Maria, who received a free device through the pilot told us “having my own device has been a lifesaver. It has allowed me to order prescriptions and talk to my GP. The device has provided me with an escape from caring responsibilities which can be very challenging”.
If you can help us to get devices into the hands of people in need, let us know by completing this form.
By working together, we can do good things for the planet, good things for excluded people, and help fix the digital divide.
Helen Milner OBE
Group Chief Executive
Helen Milner OBE is the Group Chief Executive of Good Things Foundation. Founded as a staff-led mutual charity in the UK in 2011, Helen led the establishment of a subsidiary charity, opening an office in Sydney in August 2017, and running the Be Connected Network for the Australian Government.
Helen has over 30 years experience of working in and leading organisations creating and delivering education over and about the internet. She was awarded an OBE for services to digital inclusion in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours List. In 2017, she won the title of Digital Leader of the Year (UK) and was named by Computer Weekly as the 14th most influential person in UK IT in 2020. Working with British Parliament, Helen was a member of the Speaker's Commission for Digital Democracy and an Advisor on Digital Engagement to the Public Accounts Committee. She is a Board Member of FutureDotNow, a member of the Minister’s Digital Skills Partnership Board, and is on the Adult Advisory Group for MaPS (the UK’s Money and Pension Service).