Bridging the digital divide for people with low vision

Join our new program to bridge the digital divide for people with low vision

Grants open 4 September - 19 September 2023.

A project by Good Things Foundation in partnership with Guide Dogs

Join our new program to bridge the digital divide for people with low vision and train Digital Mentors to help more people get connected.

This pilot program will be a learning process to understand the needs of people with low vision and how we can create and deliver more accessible learning resources to everyone.


We are piloting an exciting new program to build the digital literacy and skills of people with low vision. We will build the capacity and capability of community organisations and Guide Dogs staff and volunteers to deliver tailored digital literacy support.

We’re looking for 5 community organisations based in and around Parramatta, Blacktown, Newcastle/Central Coast, Port Macquarie (NSW) or Canberra (ACT), to participate in the pilot.

This program is being run by Good Things Foundation Australia in partnership with Guide Dogs.


Why is this program important?

Accessibility is about how we make learning, information, activities and places available to everyone.

Research has shown that people with disability use digital and social media less and are more likely to experience online safety issues such as cyber-bullying, harassment, image-based abuse and technology facilitated abuse.

For people with low vision, there is an additional barrier to digital access beyond a lack of essential digital skills and an affordable internet connection – the technical accessibility of websites and apps. Many people may also not know of the technology available to help them be independent and access the internet and information on their own terms.

This can create barriers for people in being able to communicate and equally access information online. Additionally, tailored supports and resources are needed for some people with disability to participate equally in the digital world.

What is low vision?

When clear vision cannot be obtained by using glasses, contact lenses, or other standard treatments like medicine or surgery. Low vision can make everyday activities such as reading, seeing the television or recognising people’s faces harder. It typically includes blurry or cloudy vision, decreased side vision, difficulty in seeing clearly at night, changes in colour or the eye's inability to properly adjust to light, contrast or glare.

People with low vision often need adaptations in lighting and/or enlarged print to read something. They may also find accessibility features on the phone, tablet or computer helpful. Some common causes include eye conditions such as Age-related macular degeneration, Cataracts, Diabetic eye conditions and Glaucoma.


What are we doing?

We are working with Guide Dogs to support people who have low vision to learn these essential digital skills.

Together, we will develop a suite of updated digital mentor materials to support the delivery of the project, including session plans, tip sheets and links to resources to help Network Partners deliver accessible digital skills support for people with low vision.


Who can apply?

$5,000 grants will be awarded to 5 Network Partners to deliver the program from 1 November 2023 to 31 October 2024.

Organisations who would like to apply for this grant must:

  • Be a registered Network Partner within the Be Connected Network.
  • Have no outstanding acquittals from previous grant/s awarded by Good Things Foundation.
  • Be located in any of the geographic regions listed below and already delivering a digital skills training program (not necessarily funded by Good Things Foundation) to the community in:

NSW:

  • Parramatta
  • Blacktown
  • Newcastle/Central Coast
  • Port Macquarie

ACT:

  • Canberra

What do I have to do?

Nominate community leaders for digital mentor training:

  • Nominate at least one Digital Mentor to be trained by Good Things Foundation and Guide Dogs. Training will be held online on 10 October 2023.

Provide digital skills support to your community:

  • Support 20 people with low vision (aged 18 years and above) to improve their digital skills, either in one to one or group sessions. Participants could be referred by Guide Dogs or they could be people living in the community who identify as having low vision and/or would benefit from learning digital skills in a more accessible way.

Help us measure the impact of the program:

  • Keep a record of how many people with low vision have been supported during the grant period.
  • Participate in four group feedback sessions with their Staff/Volunteers/Digital Mentors involved in delivery in the months of November 2023, March 2024, June 2024, and Nov 2024.
  • Provide 2 impact stories/case studies by the end of November 2024 along with their final report and financial acquittal.

Make sure you read the grant guidelines and T&Cs carefully before you apply.


What support is available to help us get this done?

Participating organisations will receive support from Good Things Foundation including:

  • $5,000 grant funding.
  • Ready-to-use digital skills training resources adapted to the needs of people with low vision.
  • An online info session/training for Digital Mentors.
  • Referrals of people with low vision to your program from Guide Dogs. A possibility to refer people with severe vision loss or blindness to the Guide Dogs team for specialised support

Key dates

Bridging the digital divide for people with low vision project timeline

Activity

Date

Launch of applications

4 September 2023

Application closing date

19 September 2023

Communication of results to all applicants

22 September 2023

Payment date

2 October 2023

Digital mentor training session for grant funded partners

10 October 2023

Project start and finish date

1 November 2023 to 31 October 2024


Grant application documents

Please read our grant guidelines carefully before you apply. They contain critical information that can help you understand eligibility and what you need to do for the grant. The guidelines also include a list of all the grant application questions to help you prepare.

Apply for a grant to bridge the digital divide for people with low vision

*Grant guidelines and T&Cs are subject to change.


Frequently Asked Questions

Click the buttons below to read answers to questions about ‘bridging the digital divide for people with low vision’ project

Organisations who would like to apply for this grant must:

  • Be a registered Network Partner within the Be Connected Network.
  • Have no outstanding acquittals from previous grant/s awarded by Good Things Foundation.
  • Be located in any of the next geographic regions and already delivering a digital skills training program to the community in:

NSW

  • Parramatta
  • Blacktown
  • Newcastle/Central Coast
  • Port Macquarie

ACT

  • Canberra

Log in to the Be Connected Network and select ‘Apply for grant’. Follow the steps to submit your online application.

Full grant guidelines, terms and conditions and grant application templates are available on our website. Make sure you read these carefully before you apply. The questions you need to answer in your online application can be found in the grant guidelines.

The Be Connected Network is Good Things Foundation’s national network of community organisations helping to close the digital divide. There are over 3,500 Network Partners across Australia.

Community organisations in our network get access to grant funding, specialist training, free resources and support from Good Things Foundation to help their community get more safely and confidently online.

To join the network, fill in our online registration form.

The project is 12 months long. The program starts with grants being awarded from October 2023 to November 2024.

Grant funds can be used for expenses directly related to the delivery of your project. The funds can be used for costs such as:

  • Digital Mentors/staff costs
  • Project management costs
  • Internet fees
  • Catering
  • Room or venue hire
  • Printing of resources
  • Equipment hire and delivery costs
  • Communications, promotion and marketing expenses
  • Travel

You are required to clearly outline what you will spend the grant funds on in the budget you submit with your application.

Exclusions:

  • Funding cannot be used for capital works (building or construction materials)

A Digital Mentor is someone who will help learners feel more confident when using digital technology. Is the person who will be trained by us to be able to support people and teach them new digital skills.

The Digital Mentor doesn’t need to be a tech person or an IT expert, is just someone motivated, looking to inspire others and with a good attitude to teach. To learn more about the role of a digital mentor, download this document

At the moment this is a short program for a limited number of Network Partners to participate in. We will share updates from the program through our Network newsletter, including any resources that we create for any organisation to use. Subscribe for email updates here.

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