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It’s a first for Wales, as iPad library loan scheme is launched in the Vale of Glamorgan!

Today, a scheme has got underway where library members in the Vale of Glamorgan can borrow an iPad in the same way that they can a book.

In the first initiative of its kind in Wales; Digital Communities Wales: Digital Confidence, Health and Well-being, Vale of Glamorgan Council, Newydd Housing and a number of other partners, have worked together on the ‘Vale Tablet Loan Scheme’ to make the idea a reality.

Danielle Roberts, Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan Regional Adviser for Digital Communities Wales: Digital Confidence, Health and Well-being said, “As a Welsh Government funded project, it’s great that we are helping to lead on this scheme. Through our work we support organisations to help more people enjoy the benefits of digital technology in our communities; providing access to local services, overcoming isolation and enriching their lives by being online. This initiative is also the result of a long-standing working relationship with Newydd Housing, particularly Scott Tandy, in his role as a Community Regeneration Officer.”

Now, 45,000 local library members can access the internet through the tablets that are being made available in the scheme, to help them learn more about digital technology. The innovative pilot initiative will also provide support to those borrowing a tablet, with Digital Champion volunteers on hand to assist.

Cllr Lis Burnett, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration, Vale of Glamorgan Council said, “Many people across the Vale of Glamorgan do not have regular access to the internet and as a result find themselves excluded from a wealth of resources and essential services. This innovative project supports library members to loan iPads as easily as they can borrow books. We hope that the project will help those who need access to the internet and technology the most.”

As 11% of adults are not online in Wales, it’s a wonderful opportunity for people to acquire new digital skills. The iPads will come pre-loaded with lots of helpful apps, including accessing the online library services, health and well-being apps, and local information. The iPads come with internet access, so can be used by those who can’t get online at home.

Jane Hutt AM, Vale of Glamorgan said, “I am so pleased that the Tablet Loan Scheme has been launched in the Vale of Glamorgan. The scheme will support Vale residents by helping them to get online. Digital exclusion is a huge contributor to loneliness and isolation and it is so important that we help as many people as possible access online communities and services”.

Creative Rural Communities is the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s rural regeneration initiative. Kaz van den Berg, Creative Rural Communities said, “Creative Rural Communities are delighted to be piloting the Vale Tablet Loan Scheme in the Vale of Glamorgan. Rural areas are more at risk of digital exclusion and providing this scheme, across all our libraries, will ensure rural Vale residents have the opportunity to access services and explore the benefits of being online. We look forward to seeing how this innovative project benefits our communities”.

If you live in the Vale of Glamorgan, and are interested in the Vale Tablet Loan Scheme, please call in to your local library for more information.

The Vale Tablet Loan Scheme 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, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government. The Vale of Glamorgan Library Services, Hale Construction and WK Plasterers have also kindly supported the scheme.