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A digital lifeline for people with learning disabilities

2nd July 2021

Over 5,000 people with learning disabilities in England have already benefited from Digital Lifeline - a unique partnership project led by Good Things Foundation - a digital inclusion and social change charity with a vision for a world where everyone benefits from digital.

Digital Lifeline is an emergency response project delivering devices, data and digital skills support to digitally excluded people with learning disabilities. Additional assistive technology advice is also available. It is funded by the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. Led by Good Things Foundation, it is delivered in partnership with AbilityNet, Digital Unite, Learning Disability England, the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group, and nearly 150 other disability, self-advocacy and digital inclusion organisations.

People with learning disabilities are using their devices to connect with friends, family and support - reducing some of the loneliness, anxiety and marginalisation which too many digitally excluded people with learning disabilities have experienced during the pandemic. For some people - like Maisie - it is also opening up new opportunities.

New research by teams at Warwick University and Open University have highlighted the difference that a device - with support to use it safely and confidently - can make in people’s lives and the lives of their families. Emergency responses like Digital Lifeline are making a huge impact - but will they be sustained as part of a more inclusive recovery for everyone?