IMPORTANT: We've updated our eligibility criteria!

We've reopened our Hardware Access Scheme with new eligibility criteria - please check the criteria before applying to the scheme.

Go to eligibility criteria

Our Projects and Schemes

Hardware Access Scheme

The Hardware Access Scheme enables us to provide digitally excluded residents with access to digital devices (currently laptops). The scheme is primarily funded by Kent County Council, through it's Helping Hands Scheme under the Digital Inclusion & Capabilities funding stream. The funding has been available through various COVID-19 Grants by the government.

Make a referral to the Hardware Access Scheme

Profile picture of Rachel MoonHi, I'm Rachel!

I am the person that helps with the Hardware Access Scheme. If you need help, you can see if we have the answer below, otherwise you can drop me an email or give me a call on the details below. 

Operational Support Coordinator



The Process

Once the resident has been referred into the scheme by a professional (or by self-referring) using the Hardware Access Scheme Referral Form they will be individually assessed against:

  • the eligibility criteria (outlined below)
  • the reasons for referral (guidance below)
  • whether the household has been provided a laptop previously (we are limiting the number of devices per household)

Upon receipt of their completed form, their referral will either be approved or declined, within 10 working days, and email notifications will automatically be sent to the beneficiary and referrer notifying them of the decision.

If approved, the Hardware Access Scheme will 'gift' them a device, with no requirements to return it. Delivery from our supplier can take up to 10 working days. The courier is usually DPD and they will text and/or email the client directly with delivery updates. 

At each stage of the process, email notifications will be sent to the referrer and the beneficiary to keep them informed of their application. Terms and conditions of the scheme will be emailed upon approval of the referral and order of the device. 

Should residents wish to dispose of their existing devices, they can use our Device Recycling Scheme.



Important Guidance for Professionals

Currently a maximum of five referrals can be made by any one professional during a seven-day rolling period. Professionals must ensure that the beneficiary being referred into the scheme is aware that the device is being provided by Kent County Council's Digital Kent team, that they understand our privacy policy and that they will be contacted for monitoring and evaluation purposes. Failure to notify the beneficiary could result in future referrals from your organisation being automatically declined. 


Continued Evaluation and Feedback

Each recipient of a device will be sent evaluation forms, either electronically or hard copy, approximately every three months which need to be completed and returned to Digital Kent. These forms focus on the benefits of gifting a free device, such as improvements with education, household finances, or health and wellbeing, amongst other things. This will enable Digital Kent to secure this Scheme into the future and help as many other residents as possible. 



What we mean by digitally excluded

The definition of digital exclusion in the context of the Hardware Access Scheme is essentially an individual not able to use digital technologies, particularly the internet, due to the lack of access to a device and as a beneficiary of this scheme, it could enhance their lives and contribute to them overcoming other disadvantages with they might face.



How can I give my referral the best chance of being approved?

The quality of the decision is based on the quality of the referral. The best way is to provide detailed context around the client, their circumstances and how receiving a device could help them overcome challenges that they currently face. As our stock of devices is limited and we want to be able to support those residents in the most need, please ensure that a full and valid reason for referral is included. All referrals are assessed by a human, although we may use automation for routine tasks, like the email updates. 

Examples of detailed reasons are what the beneficiary will use the device for; how it will benefit them now and, in the future; whether they already have any devices available to them either at home or within local facilities they can use; which eligibility criteria they meet and how they meet the digitally excluded criteria. Such details must be included with every application. 

If we receive reasons that are limited and with little detail, then applications that are made on behalf of your clients are more likely to be declined, as we are unable to make an informed decision due to lack of information. Please do not use copy and paste reasons for referrals, as this again gives us little to work from to ensure we are maximising the benefit of the scheme.