Launch of Wales' first tablet loan scheme
Llantwit Major Library recently hosted the launch of Wales’ first tablet loan scheme, which will see Vale libraries lending 4G enabled iPads to its members.
The Vale of Glamorgan Council is supporting the project, with hopes it will help tackle social isolation and improve digital literacy, particularly amongst the elderly, disabled, those on low income or those living in rural areas.
Cabinet Member for Social Care and Health, Cllr Ben Gray attended the launch.
“We’re very fortunate to have such an active library community in the Vale. This innovative project will be another brilliant asset to our communities, with around 45,000 Vale residents eligible to access it," he said.
“More and more services are being provided as ‘digital by default’, but we know there are many within our communities who are at risk from digital exclusion. This scheme provides an opportunity to address this digital divide and get our residents online.”
The tablets are pre-loaded with helpful services such as online library services, health and well-being apps and information about community services.
Amongst the first to sign up for the scheme was local resident Roy Chappell, a keen author and library user, and Gareth Hughes, a volunteer Vale Digital Champion.
Gareth supports the public with computer queries at Penarth library’s Digital Drop-In sessions:
“As a Digital Champion, this scheme will help me in my role, as I’ll be better informed and better equipped to support my clients now that I’ve got access to an iPad," he said.
“It will also help the wider community- age, disability or money shouldn’t be a barrier to accessing technology. An initiative like this will help to address lots of problems that affect the most vulnerable in society. It’s a way for people to keep busy, to learn something new, and to keep in touch with friends and family- it’s a lifeline to the outside world.”
The tablet lending program is being led by Newydd Housing Association and Digital Communities Wales, with funding received through the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020. This is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government. Hale Construction and WK Plasterers are also supporting the scheme.