Glasgow Disability Alliance Connects

Finalist category: Community Impact Award

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Community Impact Award, Finalist, 2023

Two people are sitting at a table looking at iPadsThe Glasgow Disability Alliance (GDA) Connects project is a fully accessible free digital inclusion project that emerged in response to the pandemic. Since April 2020, they have supported hundreds of disabled people to receive digital equipment (iPads, tablets, laptops, computers, smartphones), internet access, and phone coaching, and supplied hundreds more digital accessories to support access: Bluetooth speakers, headphones, Eyegaze software, Apple Pencils, styluses, external keyboards, mice, cables, webcams, and wheelchair clamps.

Disabled people are four times as likely to face digital exclusion – lacking the equipment, connectivity or confidence to access the internet – as non-disabled people. Digital exclusion is both a cause and an effect of poverty, isolation, barriers to information and services, and barriers to accessing opportunities. 82% of GDA members surveyed in 2020 said that isolation has been a major concern for them during the pandemic, with 60% of the disabled community lacking the technology, connectivity or confidence to get online.

“Through this pandemic, you’ve made such a difference to my life by giving me the iPad. If I didn’t have that, honestly, I don’t know where I’d be right now. I make as many classes and BAME group meetings as I can.” Deepa, GDA member.

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