Digital Poverty

Many of us take connection to the internet for granted...we have phones, laptops and plenty of them. We all know what it’s like when we lose our mobile or, heaven forbid, internet connection. So imagine living in a world where you don’t have a phone, a laptop or internet connection… how would you get by?

How often have you heard people saying it’s like losing a limb? You wouldn’t cope, would you? But there are many groups that need the business community’s help with access – school children, unemployed people, homeless people, older generations and more.

In this edition of The Business Brunch, B4’s CEO, Richard Rosser is joined by Michael Hall from Thebes Group and Olwen Lintern-Smyth from Oxfordshire Community Foundation to discuss how they are tackling the issue of digital poverty to help the aforementioned groups in society.

The conversation covers how important technology is when working from home, and how it can have a huge impact on productivity… but quickly moves to focus on the groups in society who have sporadic or little connectivity. Olwen mentions that “if you don’t have digital access you are genuinely excluded from a lot of what happens in life”. The world has moved online but has left many people feeling detached and unable to function in an increasingly digital world.

If you don’t have digital access you are genuinely excluded from a lot of what happens in life.

Olwen Lintern-Smyth, Oxfordshire Community Foundation

With everything online, older generations are also finding the online world difficult. It’s not second nature for them and it’s important that we do what we can to help. Olwen states that “there’s a fear of getting online and not knowing how to do it”. Working from home for most of us is not what we are used to and we are having to adapt and deal with the pressures of technology, which can be incredibly overwhelming – but in the grand scheme of things that’s a small price to pay.

We are looking to give 5% of our profit to digital poverty

Michael Hall, Thebes Group

Michael believes that it’s about spreading awareness, educating people and providing the correct platforms to help as many disadvantaged groups as possible. He goes on to talk about how as a company “we are looking to give 5% of our profit to digital poverty”. It’s this sense of community and support that will seriously help those who don’t have the luxuries of data, wifi, computers etc. We have all experienced the heart-stopping moments when technology fails – imagine what it’s like dealing with that on a daily basis!

Richard Rosser
Richard Rosser, B4
Olwen Lintern-Smyth, Oxfordshire Community Foundation
Michael Hall, Thebes Group

The knock-on effects of little or no connectivity can have a major impact on mental health, family life and stress levels, and can heighten the sense of isolation that many already experience.

What can you do to help our community connect?

B4 will be providing a platform for further discussion with our monthly ‘Digital Inclusion’ show on B4TV starting in March.

Good Things Foundation: How to use the internet, for yourself or teach someone: www.learnmyway.com
Good things Foundation: Virtual Map
BT – Programme – Give a Laptop
Good things Foundation : Recycle your electricals
Restart Project: Where to give a laptop locally & who benefits



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