The Digital Divide–Community Technology Help Desk program looks to provide vulnerable Victoria residents with access to technology. (Black Press Media)

The Digital Divide–Community Technology Help Desk program looks to provide vulnerable Victoria residents with access to technology. (Black Press Media)

Technology lending library and help desk now available in Victoria

United Way Greater Victoria hopes the program will help close the digital divide

Recognizing a growing need for access to technology during COVID-19, United Way Greater Victoria (UWGV) is funding a pilot project that is helping to close the gap between those who benefit from modern technology and those who don’t – something known as the digital divide.

The Digital Divide – Community Technology Help Desk program provides vulnerable community members, seniors and non-profit service providers with a virtual community help desk and a technology lending program.

READ ALSO: Canadian seniors isolated with fewer friends, less access to internet

“COVID-19 has demonstrated that technology is no longer a ‘nice to have,’ it’s a necessity,” said Mark Breslauer, CEO for United Way Greater Victoria. “For those who are vulnerable, the digital divide has grown into a chasm.”

In a survey conducted by UWGV, a third of respondents said they had to take money out of their food budgets to pay for internet costs.

The community help desk can assist people with technical issues, installing software, sending emails or creating documents, among other things. It can be reached Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 236-638-2610 and 250-217-4978.

For the lending library, UWGV is partnering with various community agencies that can borrow technology for specific programs and their participants. Equipment could include computers, phones, tablets and internet connections.

READ ALSO: Changing Times: Cellphones are necessary for Victoria’s homeless population

“Increased access to technology can mean a woman in an abusive situation is able to access counselling and/or emergency support on her own private phone,” UWGV said in a release. “A child living in poverty doesn’t have to risk falling further behind because they can’t access online learning, and an isolated senior can have a connection to the outside world.”

The program was established by the Coalition of Neighbourhood Houses with funding from the federal government’s emergency community support fund, granted by UWGV. It is hosted by the Sooke Family Resource Society.


 

Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

Computers and ElectronicsGreater VictoriaUnited Way

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A forest of dance-protesters outside the BC Legislature on April 11. These participants were doing the Dance for the Ancient Forest in support of the Fairy Creek blockade and against old-growth logging. (Zoë Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: Dancers, signholders show support for Fairy Creek in Victoria

A flash mob at the legislature and signs on an overpass

Wild Wise Sooke is urging the public to be bear aware. (Photo by Brian Rundle)
Wild Wise Sooke reminds public to be aware of bears

Residents asked to be mindful of their garbage habits, not to draw in wildlife

Staff celebrate the opening of the Vancouver Island Cancer Centre adjacent to Royal Jubilee Hospital in March 2001. (Photo provided by Provincial Health Services Authority)
Victoria cancer centre marks two decades of saving lives

BC Cancer – Victoria is B.C.’s second largest cancer centre

“Racing Classics” by John Horton depicts sailboats near Trial Island off the coast of Oak Bay. The painting will be featured in his <em>Maritime Impressions</em> exhibit at the Winchester Gallery until April 14.
Greater Victoria galleries beckon spring with vibrant, whimsical nature scenes

At The Galleries: look at what’s on display this month

Katie Hamilton is one of three Victoria residents receiving a $10,000 podcast production grant from Telus Storyhive. Her podcast, Her Love of Sport, will take listeners through stories from women in the sports industry. (Courtesy of Katie Hamilton)
Three local podcasts coming to Victoria following Telus Storyhive grants

Victoria podcasts chosen out of 700 applications to receive $10,000

A forest of dance-protesters outside the BC Legislature on April 11. These participants were doing the Dance for the Ancient Forest in support of the Fairy Creek blockade and against old-growth logging. (Zoë Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: Dancers, signholders show support for Fairy Creek in Victoria

A flash mob at the legislature and signs on an overpass

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Most Read