Groups help residents get connected

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A trio of agencies have teamed up to bridge the digital divide for area residents without proper access to high-speed Internet.

Through the Connect CK initiative, the Chatham-Kent Public Library, Chatham-Kent Employment and Social Services and the Chatham-Kent Ontario Health Team will help residents without devices and those with poor online access.

Connect CK allows residents to access the Internet from home by borrowing a WIFI hotspot or WIFI-enabled laptop, booking a dedicated space in a municipal building or by receiving a free refurbished laptop.

This will allow vulnerable citizens to attend virtual appointments for medical care, as well as virtual meetings for social and court services, employment resources, library services and community navigation.

In a recent media release, library CEO Tania Sharpe said library staff have “long recognized” the digital divide exists in Chatham-Kent, adding the library is pleased to be able to partner with the other services to assist citizens in need.

In a recent Let’s Talk CK health survey carried out by CKONT, 75 per cent of respondents said that in the last year they had health care meetings either by phone or online but only 35 per cent of those said they had everything they needed for a video health care appointment.

The Connect CK program will formally connect the health system to the library system through offered devices and bookable private spaces. These private spaces will be offered at three locations including the Chatham and Wallaceburg library branches, located at 120 Queen St. in Chatham and 209 James St. Wallaceburg respectively, and the CK Community Human Services Building at 435 Grand Ave. West in Chatham.

All 11 CKPL branches will also lend WIFI hotspots and WIFI-enabled laptops to residents with library cards, helping ease the burden of travelling to attend appointments.

Additionally, CKESS community navigators in partnership with Habitat for Humanity will help qualifying individuals and organizations receive a free refurbished laptop.

To learn about the endeavour, visit ckoht.ca and ckpl.ca. Community navigators can be accessed at chatham-kent.ca/communitynavigators.

 

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