Does everyone in your community have access to a smartphone, tablet or computer they can use at home?
Our $5,000 Digital Devices Grant helps community organisations build a device loan library so the people they support can stay connected at home (or on the move). We will provide the funds, how to resources and support guide. You will distribute the devices you purchase with free data to people over 50 in your community who need access to a short term smartphone, tablet or computer to keep learning at home.
Who can apply?
You can use this grant to start a new device loan library or add to your existing pool of loan devices.
The Digital Devices Grant is open for applications from community organisations registered as part of the Be Connected Network. You don’t have to be a library to apply, you can set up a device loan library in your community centre, Men’s Shed, support group or retirement village. It's free to register to become a member of the Be Connected Network, and we can support you with more grants, webinars, marketing resources, step-by-step guides and more.
Grant application documents
Please read our grant guidelines carefully before you apply as it contains 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. Grant guidelines are subject to change.
Our tips to build your own library of loan devices
The Digital Devices grant is your chance to build your own library of loan devices. Here's how the grant can help you bridge the digital divide.
Try a grant combo
The Digital Devices grant is a perfect companion to the Building Digital Skills grant! Use the Building Digital Skills grant to fund a digital literacy program for seniors in your centre, and encourage your learners to continue to learn at home with a loan device.
Do a phone check-in with learners with loan devices, encourage them to continue to use the device and guide them through the Be Connected Learning Portal. This one-on-one support can count towards your Building Digital Skills grant.
Purchase the right devices
You can use the digital devices grant to purchase smartphones, tablets or laptops. Think about who you will loan these devices to, and how they will use the device.
These devices might be the first device your borrower has ever had at home, so try to find something that is easy to use and will get them excited about getting online at home.
Think about how you'll manage devices between users
As owners of loan devices, you have a responsibility to ensure the devices are safe to use and that you ensure that sensitive information is not accidentally shared among your learners.
Create a process to follow whenever a learner returns a device to you, this could include uninstalling apps and restoring the device to original factory settings. You may want to include a set of printed instructions with your loan devices for your learners to follow so they know how to reset a device before they return it to you.
Don't forget data
The Digital Devices grant requires you to also purchase data access for every device you loan to your community. It's important that you don't place the burden of paying for data on your learners.
A number of telcos have wifi dongles that make it easy to connect to the internet. Some devices like tablets offer SIM card slots, which makes it even easier for your borrowers.
Schedule a ‘getting started’ phone call with your borrowers
Book in a support call with your borrowers within the first week of them getting their loan device. You can cover trouble-shooting questions, making sure they are comfortable turning it on and off, and show them one new thing they can do online. Book in a follow up call one month later, and let them know how they can access ongoing digital skills support in your organisation.
With the introduction of social distancing laws, Tricia Pye and her digital mentors from The Tec Exec, have found new ways to provide support to Australian’s over 50 through Zoom with 28 participants on their first digital session.
Tricia says “As virtual training specialists, it was a natural transition for us to move to online learning. Our first session on Zoom was was an amazing experience, especially when I saw their initial reaction to joining an online meeting for the first time. They later told me joining an online meeting added to their independence and it was now something they wanted to do and share with their friends and families."