Our Projects and Schemes

COVID-19 Hardware Access Scheme

Logos - DigitalKent_HASLaunching early 2022, the COVID-19 Hardware Access Scheme has been established to supply individuals that meet the criteria (see below) with access to digital equipment (initially laptops).

The COVID-19 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.

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. 

Make a referral to the scheme.

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),
  • in or at-risk of financial hardship (for example, in receipt of one or more UK state benefits),

--- AND EITHER ---

  • disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic

--- OR ---

  • in (or have been in) receipt of an official letter asking them to shield.

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

  • digitally excluded,
  • residing in Kent (excluding Medway),

--- AND EITHER ---

  • 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

--- OR ---

  • 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.

To be eligible for this scheme through pathway seven, beneficiaries must be:

  • digitally excluded,
  • residing in Kent (excluding Medway), and
  • have been affected by P&O Ferries redundancy decision.

Need a device, but not involved with a professional service to make a referral under Pathway 7?

If so, get in touch with our local Engagement Officer - Steven Holdcroft by email (Steven.Holdcroft@kent.gov.uk) or telephone 03000 410 056

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