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The Digital Divide Affects All

Whilst listening to the media and reading publications in regards to digital poverty that has affected families since the lock down due to Covid-19. Discussions had taken place amongst families and from these discussions, families had shared their frustrations and revealed that they were struggling with home learning for their children due to not having a device to complete their studies on.

The diversity of families who had shared their experiences had varied, including those with disabilities, social workers and support workers, for whom had been left without support to help aid their children even after they had shared their concerns to professionals.

Families were forced into extremely difficult situations where they were left to choose between food and home schooling for their families. Bridge the Gap saw a need to refer families for support for food and hot meals as the high demand for such support was required alongside needing a device for their children.

The Department for Education in England had promised laptops to be lent to some poorer teenagers, as well as disadvantaged Year 10 pupils without access to a computer, and those with social workers. However, we know not everyone has access to a social worker or be classed as disadvantaged by the system. Therefore families were left without support to help aid their children. For this reason Bridge the Gap was created to help families access services in the community according to their needs.

Our Aims and Objectives

  • Bridge the Gap is a  Community interest Company based in Hackney, with aims to support families at a grass roots level.

  • Our members are families from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds including Caribbean, African, European, South Asian and British.

  • We all have experienced the devastating effects of social and digital divide first hand. 

  • In the current crisis we saw the need for a new organisation focused on bridging this digital and social divide, where all members play a role in sharing skills and experiences for the benefit of the wider community. 

  • We aim to bridge the gap by empowering local families including those with children with additional needs through supporting them with technology equipment. 

  • We aim to enable a network of parents to create change within their own local community, in turn inspiring other parents and families to be the change they want to see. 

  • We want to give families the ability to change their own futures through empowering them with education and technology through our Digital Community Hub Project.

Meet Melissa Francis, CEO/ Founder of Bridge the Gap - Families in need CIC

A local resident and SEN parent who has worked as a carer, Teaching assistant, SEN support worker, programme support officer and Community support worker. Melissa has considerable experience of volunteering within the local community and understands the particular challenges that the digital and social divide has had within it as she had experienced  this with her own family.  Melissa  had quickly jumped on the idea and decided to help support other families in the local area, she then formed  partnerships  with local services and organisations  to help respond to the Covid-19 situation to tackle the Digital divide in  Hackney as required. 

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