Our Projects and Schemes

Hardware Access Scheme

Logos - DigitalKent_HASLaunched early 2022, the Hardware Access Scheme has been established to supply individuals that meet the criteria (see below) with access to digital equipment (currently laptops).

The Hardware Access Scheme will 'gift' the device to the intended beneficiary, with no requirements to return the device. 

The way in which a beneficiary can be supplied with a device through the scheme must be by referral from a professional by completing our online form. Beneficiaries cannot self-refer, to minimise abuse of the scheme.

Important: From 1 September 2022, a maximum of ten referrals can be made by any one professional during a rolling seven day period. Professionals must ensure the beneficiary being referred into the scheme are aware and require a laptop. Failure to notify the beneficiary could result in future referrals from the organisation being automatically declined. 

The scheme is being funded by Kent County Council, through it's Helping Hands Scheme under the Digital Inclusion & Capability funding stream. The funding has been available through various COVID-19 Grants by the government. 

Eligibility and Referral Guidance

To be eligible for this scheme through pathway one or two, beneficiaries must be: 

  • digitally excluded,
  • residing in Kent (excluding Medway), AND
  • in or at-risk of financial hardship (for example, in receipt of one or more UK state benefits).

To be eligible for this scheme through pathway three, four or five, beneficiaries must be:

  • digitally excluded,
  • residing in Kent (excluding Medway), AND
  • aged 4 to 18 (up to 25 with an EHCP) in education or training and meet at least one of the following statements below:
    • has a least one parent/carer that is a critical worker
    • is a vulnerable child or young person
    • has special educational needs or disabilities
    • is eligible for free school meals
    • is eligible for pupil premium funding
    • is eligible for service pupil premium funding
    • is a young carer
    • has been identified at-risk of becoming NEET

To be eligible for this scheme through pathway three, four or five, beneficiaries must be:

  • digitally excluded,
  • residing in Kent (excluding Medway), AND
  • aged 16 to 18 (up to 25 with an EHCP) not in education, employment or training and is actively engaged with Kent County Council's NEET Support Service.

This scheme doesn't directly benefit Ukrainians and individual impacted by domestic abuse. We have a Device Loaning Scheme, opening in July 2022. This scheme will provide either a smartphone or tablet for up to a period of six months. 

Once the referral has been approved by the Digital Kent team, this will be confirmed in writing with the scheme's terms and conditions. Instruction to our supplier will be made for delivery of the device direct to the beneficiary, along with any additional requirements (e.g. software or mobile connectivity).

The device will be delivered with User Guide and Warranty Guide. Beneficiaries shouldn't need help with setting up the device, but we would appreciate if the referrer can support in setting up the device in the first instance. 

Digital Kent will also be able to support beneficiaries and referrers, either through a volunteer Digital Champion or one of our team. 

Examples of a professional who can nominate a beneficiary include (but not limited to):

  • charity employees
  • local council or local authority employees
  • GP and specialist doctors
  • teachers or lecturers

The definition of digital exclusion in the context of this 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.

Examples of benefits include (but not limited to):

  • Universal Credit
  • Jobseekers' Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Support with Mortgage Interest
  • Council Tax Support
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Carers Allowance

Guidance on critical workers can be found on the government website here.

Guidance on vulnerable children and young people can be found on the government website here