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Fast Track - Connecting Scotland

Connecting Scotland is a Scottish Government programme set up to tackle digital exclusion during the coronavirus crisis.

It is delivered with the support of local councils, SCVO(this will open in a new window) and a wide range of organisations(this will open in a new window) from across Scotland and the UK.   

Previous application rounds(this will open in a new window) have targeted those at high clinical risk from coronavirus, families with children, young care leavers, older people and disabled people.

We are now inviting ‘fast track’ applications from organisations working with people at risk of social isolation and loneliness. If you apply through this process you are committing to distribute devices and provide basic monitoring information within 14 days of receipt. This means you should already know who you plan to support prior to applying.

Organisations can apply for support for up to 10 people they are currently working with. This support can include:

  • Digital devices – iPads and/or Chromebooks
  • Internet connectivity – a mobile WiFi hotspot with 24 months unlimited data  
  • Training and support – for staff and volunteers to become ‘digital champions’ to support people to use the internet confidently and safely

Fast track applications(this will open in a new window) are intended for organisations who can identify specific people they are currently working with that meet the eligibility criteria and have capacity to deliver devices to them quickly over the summer.

Who is eligible?

Organisations can apply for support for people that they work with that meet all the following criteria:

  • They are digitally excluded – they currently do not have access to an appropriate device and/or internet connection at home.
  • They are from a low-income household – they cannot afford to buy a device or pay for internet access from their household income.
  • They are at risk of social isolation or loneliness.

The three priority target groups are:

  • Older people (aged 60+)
  • Disabled people
  • Single parents

Applications may also be accepted for other people where strong evidence of a risk of social isolation is provided.

Getting online will help them access public services, take part in learning, connect with family and friends and contribute towards reducing social isolation and loneliness.  

Who can apply?   

If you are a public or third sector organisation that works with the target groups in Scotland, you can apply for devices. Teams working within a local council can also apply.

Individuals and private sector organisations cannot apply.  

You can apply for a maximum of 10 devices in each application. However, organisations may submit multiple applications from different team members. It is preferrable, but not essential, for the applicant to be the same person that will deliver the devices and support to the beneficiary.

All organisations must be able to:

  • Demonstrate they have identified specific people they are currently working with that meet the criteria for support
  • Understand what type of device is best for those people (a Chromebook or iPad) and whether they also require an internet connection (MiFi) to be provided
  • Commit to distributing the devices and provide basic monitoring and evaluation(this will open in a new window) data on who has received them within 14 days of them being delivered to you
  • Provide support for at least six months to end-users to help them develop their digital skills and confidence through the Digital Champions model(this will open in a new window), including taking part in a 2.5 hour remote Digital Champion training session, if appropriate

A full list of roles and responsibilities can be found in the template grant agreement(this will open in a new window).

SCVO will provide support for successful teams and organisations.  

Previous applicants to Connecting Scotland must have successfully completed the distribution of their previous devices and submitted the required monitoring information for their application to be considered in this round.

How to apply 

Each local council  has an allocation of devices available to them to distribute to people living in their area through projects that are successful in their application.  This is to ensure as wide geographic coverage as possible. 

Complete the application for the Council area where all (or the majority) of the people you intend to support live.

You can apply using the online application(this will open in a new window).  A template application is available in Microsoft Word(this will open in a new window) to help you to prepare your answers.

The application will ask you to:

  • Tell us about the people you want to support: what are their needs and what difference will it make to have access to a device an internet connection? Names or specific personal data is not required at this stage, but must be provided within 14 days of you receiving the devices.
  • Tell us how you currently work with these people and how you will support them to get the most from their devices and connectivity as part of this work?
  • Identify the number of devices (Chromebooks or iPads) and internet connections (mobile WiFi) you would like to apply for.

Applications will be assessed on a weekly basis. We aim to notify applicants of the outcome within 14 days of submission.

A maximum of 5,000 devices will be distributed through the fast track application process. There is no specific closing date, as the application form will close once all devices are awarded. Organisations are therefore advised to submit their application as soon as possible to avoid the risk of losing out.

Find out more: Connecting Scotland(this will open in a new window)

Closing date

No closing date

Ongoing funding


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