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Nominet launches REBOOT to help community organisations and schools get digital access

Nominet is launching REBOOT, an interactive platform with a step by step guide to help community organisations and schools provide digital access to vulnerable groups and disconnected students, by helping them access and repurpose unused devices in an efficient and cost effective way. 

REBOOT is a follow-up to ‘DevicesDotNow’, an emergency appeal in response to COVID-19. To date over 2,500 devices have been distributed to those in need with a further 7,500 secured. DevicesDotNow brought together Nominet, Accenture, Good Things Foundation and others as part of a coalition led by FutureDotNow. 

Digital Access schemes have emerged throughout the UK since March and REBOOT brings this knowledge and insight together, helping local organisations and schools understand how to best develop a scheme in their local area. It provides expert guidance to groups so they can easily collect unused and unwanted devices, restore them and distribute them safely to the people who need them most. The platform also allows groups to connect and share their expertise as well as access key resources. With local lockdowns taking place and school re-openings still a concern, REBOOT is an essential guide to staying connected in challenging and changing circumstances. 

The biggest barrier for digital access can be the cost of new devices, coupled with data costs, which can run into hundreds of pounds. However, rebooting and repurposing unused devices is a simple and cost-effective way of helping to solve this problem and enable online access for learning, employment, information seeking, or even connecting and communicating with friends and family. 

Eleanor Bradley, MD Registry & Public Benefit, Nominet says: 

“There are an estimated 11 million unused devices in our communities which could be repurposed for use in schools, charity groups, local services and libraries, and REBOOT is designed to encourage and support this effort with tried and tested success stories from vital grassroots community projects.  

“With many community groups suspended and charities unable to provide their face-to-face services in recent months, people who didn’t have access to a device and connectivity were left isolated.  We hope REBOOT will help reconnect unused devices and people in an efficient and cost-effective way, providing opportunities online for those who could benefit from it most – particularly with the threat of a second wave lockdown and questions around the long term feasibility of schools re-opening.”

REBOOT Community member Power to Connect says: “We launched the Power to Connect initiative earlier this year to raise awareness of the issues around digital exclusion and to support local families across Wandsworth, who are struggling to stay connected during the COVID-19 outbreak. In just two months, over 330 laptops and tablets that were donated have been refurbished and distributed to local families via 36 schools. Having a guide like REBOOT at the beginning of our journey would have been really useful as it highlights the key considerations and stages in the process but also, the ability to connect with others who are trying to do the same within their community. We are looking forward to being a part of the REBOOT Community to share experiences and collaborate with others who are on a similar journey.”

Helen Milner, CEO, Good Things Foundation and DeviceDotNow partner says: “DevicesDotNow helped thousands access digital services and make meaningful connections during lockdown and we’re thrilled that Nominet is taking the project on as REBOOT to help ensure that unused devices continue to be put to good use in communities across the UK. The REBOOT ‘how to’ guide is a must-see for anyone wanting to build a digital access scheme on their doorstep that is cheap and effective and based on their specific needs.”

Camilla Drejer, head of UK corporate citizenship at Accenture, part of the REBOOT alliance, says: “At a crucial time when digital has the power to turn isolation into inclusion, 1.9million households do not have access to the internet. To become a truly digitally inclusive society, individuals need skills, motivation, access to infrastructure as well as affordable connectivity and devices. The Reboot project helps grassroot organisations set up critical used devices campaigns to get their communities online and drive societal inclusion at a time when this has never been more important.”  

To find out more here about REBOOT, please see here:  www.rebootproject.uk 

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