Islington to give all care leavers a year's free wi-fi in national first

Free wifi for care leavers is a central demand of the Keep Care Leavers Connected campaign

Free wifi for care leavers is a central demand of the Keep Care Leavers Connected campaign - Credit: Islington Council

Islington Council has become the first local authority in the country to ensure that all young people leaving care in the borough are provided with free wi-fi.

The council has given its full backing to the initiative which will address "digital poverty" among some of the borough’s most vulnerable young people, by providing broadband access at home for the first 12 months they live independently.

It is a central demand of the Keep Care Leavers Connected campaign, spearheaded by the Care Leavers National Movement (CLNM), a branch of The National House Project charity which helps local authorities better support care leavers.

In Islington about 60 young people each year leave care and they will be provided with the service as they learn to find their feet in the world and live independently.

Ibrahim Hassan Ali, chair of the CLNM and an Islington care leaver himself, hopes other councils will follow in Islington's footsteps.

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He said: “It’s great to see Islington step up to the plate on such an important issue. 

"This commitment means future care leavers will be able to stay digitally connected with each other and wider society.

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“This will be a huge boost for future care leavers in the borough, who now have one less thing to worry about. They can devote their time and energy to building an independent life for themselves – to update that online CV, apply for that job, take that college course, manage those finances and stay in touch with friends."

Ibrahim Ali, chair of Care Leavers National Movement 

Ibrahim Hassan Ali, chair of Care Leavers National Movement - Credit: Islington Council

The council's families' chief, Cllr Michelline Ngongo, added: “As the Keep Care Leavers Connected campaign makes clear, access to wi-fi broadband at home is not a luxury in today’s world. It’s particularly vital in enabling young people to live independently and fully participate in society.

“So many elements of modern life have moved online, whether that’s getting help to set up a business, applying for jobs or online courses, staying in touch with friends or even simple things like registering for banking and council services.

“So it’s only fair that our care leavers are able to get online at home without having to worry about the cost."

Cllr Michelline Ngongo

Cllr Michelline Ngongo - Credit: Islington Council/ Em Fitzgerald Photography

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