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Breaking Digital Barriers

How SEMPER Scotland, Forth Valley Police and Vodafone Helped Uplift Communities

Black History Month is celebrated every year in Scotland, and it is a time to recognise the contributions and achievements of black people throughout history. As part of the celebration, SEMPER Scotland organised various events to engage the community and promote awareness of black history. However, during the preparation and delivery of these events, the organisers encountered digital poverty, which excludes some of the most vulnerable victims from participating or engaging with broader support networks.

Digital poverty is a growing concern in Scotland, where a significant proportion of the population still lacks access to vital digital infrastructure and resources. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the problem, with many people struggling to access essential services and support due to a lack of digital skills or equipment. The issue is particularly acute among vulnerable populations, such as those on low incomes or living in remote areas, who often face additional barriers to accessing digital resources. To address this problem, there is a need for more significant investment in digital infrastructure and resources, as well as targeted support for those who are most at risk of experiencing digital exclusion. Only by working together can we ensure that everyone has equal access to the digital tools and services essential for participation in modern society.

Back to our story:- What can we as individuals do? Small actions may seem insignificant, but they accumulate to create significant results. Every little gesture counts, and together, we can make a substantial impact on the world.

It is unfortunate that due to the cost of living crisis, technology often takes a back seat despite being necessary for modern living. While essentials take priority, it is crucial to recognise that digital infrastructure and resources are also essential for participation in modern society.

Some people we have been engaging with had this difficult decision to make essentials over communication (phone pay as you go). This was a significant hurdle as it left them unable to communicate or access support networks, feeling isolated and excluded. As BME officers and staff, we have a unique understanding of the impact that digital poverty can have on communities both here in Scotland and in other parts of the world.

Our members believe that we need to do something, even if it's small. It's better than doing nothing at all. Thankfully, Clackmannanshire Area Command in Forth Valley has an innovative joint program called Strive, which secures phones for those in need. SEMPER Scotland reached out to the private sector for assistance, and help was provided through Vodafone, who kindly donated 100 SIM cards. This small gesture had a significant impact on the local community, and it showed how all sectors need to come together to uplift and empower the most vulnerable in society.

The collaboration between SEMPER Scotland, Clackmannanshire Area Command, and Vodafone is a great example of how different sectors can work together to uplift and empower the most vulnerable in society. This partnership is an excellent model for other organisations to follow in supporting those in need. By taking small actions, such as donating SIM cards, we can have a significant impact on our local communities and make a difference in the lives of those around us.

Black History Month is not just about learning but also about how we can be exemplary citizens in our ways. The measure of our success is how we uplift others. We all must do our part to support those in need and ensure everyone has equal access to resources and opportunities.

In conclusion, let us all remember that we are writing our histories as we go on. It is up to us to make sure that our actions are ones we can be proud of. By working together, supporting each other, and taking small actions, we can make a significant impact on our communities and the world. So, are you proud of the history you're writing? Let's make it a good one.

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