The Government has given £7,000 to the Jersey Employment Trust (JET) to help vulnerable Islanders stay connected over the Christmas period.
Following the announcement of tighter COVID-19 restrictions, the Government has offered the funding that will go towards a credit scheme in the form of vouchers that can be used to pay for telecom related services. The scheme has been agreed by the Island’s four telecom providers: JT, Airtel-Vodafone, Sure, and Newtel Jersey.
Executive Officer of JET, Jocelyn Butterworth said: “We have been really grateful to the telecom providers for coming together so quickly to put this in place. We hope to be able to provide significant additional data and local calls for those most in need for a period of a month.
“There are many Islanders that live with a disability and it is vital to make sure they are supported, especially this Christmas as restrictions come into force.
“This scheme will help achieve two priorities; that disabled people have support to communicate and access information, and that they have access to education, employment and enriching activities. These priorities are even more critical over the festive season”
Tom Noel, JT’s Director of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability, said: “One of JT’s priorities is putting people first, so making sure some of our most vulnerable islanders are connected over Christmas and New Year is something we were delighted to help with. The additional measures due to Covid-19 have made it even more important to work with JET and make those connections possible, especially if people are having to isolate and be away from loved ones at this special time of the year.”
Graham Hughes, Chief Executive of Sure Jersey, commented: “The team at Sure recognise the challenges that many are facing in these uncertain times. We are very pleased to be working with the Jersey Employment Trust to ensure that those in need are able to access internet services over the festive period.”
A spokesperson for Airtel-Vodafone said: “Technology has a key role to play keeping vulnerable Islanders connected to friends and family and we are pleased to support this fantastic initiative at a time when it’s needed the most. We have worked closely with JET to offer cost-effective and easy-to-implement call and data packages for those in the community that need it most.’
Minister for Social Security, Deputy Judy Martin said: “It is vitally important to support those vulnerable Islanders this Christmas and to ensure that they are able to stay connected to loved ones. The Disability Strategy works proactively to improve disability awareness and change attitudes surrounding the subject. This is a step in the right direction in working towards the elimination of discrimination.
“As tighter restrictions come into force, people with disabilities and long-term health conditions may struggle to live their daily lives from home. This scheme will help those people who are at risk of becoming isolated afford the cost of broadband needed to access training and work.”
The scheme is open to any Islander who has a disability or long-term health condition, and not just JET clients. Anyone who would like to access the scheme can contact Nick Ozouf by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Government of Jersey News Release.