Digital Housing Hub - #digihousing

where social housing providers meet to help their residents embrace the web

I appreciate this topic has been discussed previously on here, however, I am interested to hear from anyone who has set up a scheme with a credit union to help tenants purchase affordable kit and connections

We are looking into this at Barnsley, where we promote the Get Online @ Home scheme.  Many tenants have already purchased the £149 laptop, but the truth is for many people we meet £149, or even £99 for a PC, is simply out of reach.  Therefore we are looking at setting up a scheme with credit union so that tenants can access responsible finance they need to purchase the kit, mirroring a similar scheme which is being devised for white goods.  Evidently with the move to ‘digital by choice’ and online applications for UC the internet really is to become a 4th utility for many so it seems right that a similar scheme should be available for PCs / laptops.. 

 We are also keen to include some form of internet connection with the offer for those that need it too (many tenants don’t have phone lines to add broadband to) so were thinking about Dongles / MiFi, such as the 3 mobile offer – keeping commitments and costs down as opposed to having line rental + broadband over say 24 months. 

  • Has anyone else done something similar? 
  • And how does this work in practice?  I.e. do you own a bank of equipment or is the ordering / delivery process managed between credit union / supplier?
  • Have you funded a credit union scheme or is it run direct by credit union? (is the application / approval process along the same lines as existing credit union finance?) 
  • If you have a scheme, is it promoted widely to all tenants or specifically to those that you work with around digital inclusion / affected by welfare reform….? 
  • Have you bundled in 3G / dongles with the scheme?

 Any advice would be very much appreciated!



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Hi Matt,  I saw you at the NFA digital workshop - really liked what you are doing (also I want to Barnsley College so always a fan of the area!)

We're writing our 'What's in IT for me' campaign to roll out internet&computer skills to our tenants.  Our initial online survey results show that 'can't afford to' is the main reason tenants aren't connected.  I would be interested in any info you get on this. 

We are planning to offer free wifi to our tower blocks and low rise flats with pc's in the communal rooms in one of our estates to see if this helps.  The idea will be for those rooms to be manned by our volunteer digital champions at planned times (chosen by the tenants in the area) and then handed over to local digital rep.  I will keep you posted on how that goes! 

Cheers lucy

Hi Matt & Lucy

Both your projects and ideas sound really good. I'm planning on speaking with our local CU about a simialr scheme so will let you know how that goes. Would be interested to stay in touch and see how you get on too.



Mattew your projects and ideas sound really good. I appreciate you


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