Staying connected during the coronavirus outbreak

Venture Scotland have partnered up with People Know How, Change Recruitment Group and the Taranata Group, Edinburgh Palette, the University of Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Remakery to get computers and internet connection to those who need them during the current coronavirus outbreak.

#StayHome

Over the last few weeks the coronavirus outbreak has changed lives across the globe. Here in Scotland we are in lockdown, having been advised to enforce social distancing and stay at home to protect the NHS and the lives of those around us.

Since 17 March Venture Scotland staff have therefore been working from home, adapting our services to continue our support of young people in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Donation and collaboration

Just as the UK was going into lockdown a couple of weeks ago, People Know How’s Chief Executive Glenn Liddall received a generous donation of 12 computers from the University of Edinburgh. The next step after any device donation is to get the computers wiped, refurbished and rebuilt. This is where Edinburgh Remakery came to the rescue, lending us a hand by refurbishing each device.

At this point the staff at People Know How were hard at work adapting their services to the new situation. It soon became clear that their one-to-one and group support for children, young people and adults would move towards online and telephone support. The importance of computers suddenly grew tenfold, with devices needed by many of their existing and prospective service users experiencing social isolation, worsened by the current crisis.

Staff at Venture Scotland were also looking at trying to stay connected with young people and realizing that not everyone has the resources at home needed to engage with digital services.

Luckily Change Recruitment Group, part of the Taranata Group who had collaborated with People Know How during their Connect Four event, became the second organisation to gift People Know How devices. They donated a whopping 79 computers, and Venture Scotland transported them from George Street down to our offices on Ferry Road. At 525 Ferry Road Edinburgh Palette welcomed them with open arms, offering the use of the building and its spacious open plan areas as a computer refurbishing base.

With this large donation, they realized they would need more support to refurbish the computers. They have created an IT Support Volunteer position, providing phone support to aid service users remotely to set up their new computers.

What’s next?

With a grand total of 91 donated computers, and doors open to further donations, the partnership are now in the process of refurbishing for distribution to those in need. With Venture Scotland ready to deliver the computers to doorsteps, we’re identifying members of the community who will most benefit from what we can offer. We can’t wait to see what else our collaborations will bring to the table as we aim to provide the best support we can for the community.

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