Black Country Connected is a Programme to loan residents in the Black Country a Geobook Laptop with an option to receive connectivity to enable them to access information such as health, care, social, well-being sites, general information sites, educational/college sites, social media, online shopping and connect with people/organisations via email, video call and APPs.

Please note, our Black Country Connected Programme is not taking any referrals between 10 June and 2 September 2024 whilst we are relocating our Walsall and Wolverhampton distribution hub days.

Please check this page for regular updates.

Eligibility criteria: for people who have no/limited access to a digital device, no/limited connectivity, no/limited skills to use technology, no confidence to use a device and who require additional support to do so.  Recipients will be invited to an ad-hoc hub day to collect their device and will be given one-to-one assistance. We ask all recipients to complete a baseline survey upon collecting their device and one at three months which will help when evaluating the programme. The recipient will have access to a telephone/email support service during the three-month programme for any technical issues/queries they may have.

If you think that any of your service users would benefit from this scheme and would like to refer into the programme, please refer to the referral form embedded within the GP clinical systems or, if you are non-NHS, please request a copy and further information about the programme from Emma Sharman, Digital Inequalities Lead via email:

It’s important that you know how to keep yourself safe online. Here are some things you can do that will help:

  • Do not share your bank or debit card details unless you’ve been shown how to shop online safely.
  • Do not share any personal information, like your name or address, with people you don’t know. The people you know shouldn’t need to ask you for this information.
  • Do not share your passwords. Passwords are like keys to your house. If you give them to someone, they can use them to get hold of your personal information.
  • If you have any doubts about something do not do it. Ask a member of the Black Country Connected team about what to do if you’re not sure.
  • The messages and photos you post on social media can leave a permanent online record. So be careful about what you put online.
  • You should never post messages or photos of other people without their permission.

This guide will help you set up your new Geobook laptop.

If you’ve never used a Geobook Tablet before don’t worry, your digital champion can help you set it up and get started. They can also help you do what you need to online.

For example:

  • set-up an email address
  • set-up video calling so you can keep in touch with friends and family
  • order groceries
  • keep up-to-date with news and current affairs
  • have access to useful Apps such as the NHS App or other relevant Apps

Please download the geobook user guide here.

Alcoholics Anonymous Alcoholics Anonymous Great Britain (

Action for Advocacy

Age UK

Birmingham LGBT

Black Country emotional support helpline 0808 802 2288

CRUSE (Bereavement Care) Home - Cruse Bereavement Support

Cranstoun Sandwell

CAB (Citizen Advice Bureau) Citizens Advice

CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) CALM Homepage | Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) (

Carers UK 0808 808 7777

Combat Stress


Gamblers Anonymous




Lesbian and Gay switchboard 0300 330 0630


Mental Health Matters 0300 323 0139

Men’s Advice Line and Domestic Violence 0808 801 0327

Narcotics Anonymous

National Debt Line Debt advice | Free debt advice | National Debtline | National Debtline



Recovery Near You

Supported Housing

Sandwell African Caribbean Mental Health Foundation (Kuumba Foundation)

Sandwell Welfare Rights 0121 569 3158

Sandwell Childrens Trust 0121 569 3100

Samaritans Samaritans | Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy | Here to listen


SANE line 0300 304 7000


SALMA Foodbank (Does not require food voucher) 07767 164246

The Silver Line The Silver Line Helpline

Victim Support

West Midlands Police 101 (in an emergency 999)

Women’s Aid

Young Carers Team 0121 525 8002

Below is a list of organisations who are working with the Black Country Connected programme to support each recipient of a device:

Walsall College

Provide students with an excellent learning experience, education and skills development to support them into higher levels of study and jobs.

01922 657000

Homepage | Walsall College

Colleges West Midlands

Colleges West Midlands is helping to raise the technical skills of young people and adults in full-time education, upskilling in the workplace, undertaking an Apprenticeship or pursuing a higher education programme either full or part-time.

Welcome - Colleges West Midlands

Recovery College

The Recovery College provides an educational learning environment for people who have an interest in, or personal difficulties with, mental health. Their courses celebrate their successes and build on existing skills and strategies rather than highlighting problems or failures.

0121 543 4061


Offer Digital Skills Training which is designed to make sure nobody gets left behind. Courses focus on everything from basic IT skills and introductions to specific programmes right through to comprehensive and advanced user experiences.

03333 444019

Healthwave – Digital Carers

Offer support, advice and share ideas for Digital Carers who are helping others with digital tasks but may find it difficult themselves.

Digital Carers Campaign Toolkit :: Black Country and West Birmingham CCG (

One Health and Care: NHS Shared cared record

A way of bringing together all your separate records from the different organisations involved in your health and care which will allow professionals who are directly involved with your care see relevant information about the care and treatment you’ve had across all services, in all parts of the Black Country and West Birmingham, meaning you only have to tell your story once, as all our health and care professional have instant access to all the information they need to treat you in the fastest, safest and most effective way. 

01922 618388

One Health and Care: NHS shared care record :: Black Country and West Birmingham CCG (

P3 charity

A charity and social enterprise, made up of passionate people, who care about people. They run a variety of services all across the UK, that aim to give everyone the chance to be part of the community they live in and feel connected to society.

P3 - Changing lives every day (

Thrive into Work

Thrive into Work offers one-to-one job finding support to people with health challenges.

Thrive into Work (

One Walsall Voluntary Sector

About One Walsall

Good Things Foundation

They co-design free online learning resources to help people take their first and further steps online. They also offer free resources to help people develop digital skills to make the most of the online world.


Good Things Foundation - Improving lives through digital

Beacon Centre for the Blind

We help people living with sight loss to live fuller, more independent lives from building employment and life skills, increasing confidence, to reducing isolation and accessing the latest technology to transform lives, their charity has been helping blind and visually impaired people for over 140 years.

Beacon Centre for the Blind | Making a Visible Difference for People with Sight Loss ( 

Serco - Essential Digital Skills

Serco via the Adult Skills for Work contract can offer FULLY FUNDED digital qualifications to EMPLOYED residents of Birmingham, Dudley and Sandwell. Our courses are delivered 100% remotely so you can learn from the comfort of your own home! You could gain qualifications in ‘Essential Digital Skills’, ‘Coding Practices’ and ‘Cyber Security Practices’. Our Coding and Cyber Security courses can also be accessed by anyone who is not in employment and is aged 24+ with no Level 3 qualifications. To find out more please contact the following email addresses:

Essential Digital Skills –

Coding/Cyber Security –

Santander Universities 

They are supporting Higher Education over the last 25 years with a range of support aimed at improving access to Education, Entrepreneurship and Employability by providing life-changing opportunities for students across the globe. Here in the UK, we have partnerships with 85 universities and have provided over £95 million pounds worth of philanthropic support towards Higher Education since its inception in 2007.   To further extend our support across the UK, we are also turning our attention to lifelong learning to help a new audience of UK adults with a range of opportunities to support them in the long term. It’s key to let you know that you do not have to be a Santander client or customer to take part in any of them either.

Santander Universities | Santander UK 

Barclays Digital Wings

Digital Wings is designed to provide a tailored learning experience to suit anyone wanting to improve their digital know-how. As a group or on your own, the learning provided will support someone starting out, right through to learning new skills using technology. To register for free courses, enter the code NHSBCCGEO when signing up.

Learn more about Barclays Digital Wings

Good Things Foundation

Learn My Way is a free online platform that helps people gain basic digital skills and improve their digital literacy to make the most of our online world. Our bite-sized topics are suitable for beginners that have no or low digital skills, allowing everyone to benefit from using digital devices and accessing essential online services.

We are asking all recipients to complete a brief baseline survey when collecting their device and at the end of the three month period. This is to determine if having a device/access to the internet has had a positive impact on your Health and Wellbeing, this could be helping you become more confident using the internet, helping you find employment, helping you gain more knowledge of health-related matters and using the NHS APP or simply helping you to keep-in-touch with family/friends via video/audio.

The surveys will give us an indication of existing use of a digital device, what the device was used for i.e., sending emails, social networking, online shopping, etc., and whether having access to a device/connectivity enabled you to keep-in-touch with your health care professionals such as GP, link worker, specialist nurse as well as being able to view and have access to your health care records. The surveys also ask if you would be interested in a basic IT skills course to help you gain better use of your device to which we can offer services within your area.

Please see links to the surveys below:

Baseline survey:

To be completed on the day of device collection with the assistance of a Black Country Connected team member

Three-month survey

To be completed at the end of the recipients three month period with the device.

What is my ID code for?

This code is to identify you when Programme analysis are done. We use your post code to identify what area you live and date of birth to identify what age bracket you fall in to. We use a unique ID code so none of your personal details are shared with anyone outside of the Black Country Programme.

I can’t log in to the online surveys

Try coming out of the surveys tab and refreshing the Black Country Connected page by pressing on the refresh symbol at the top of the page.  You can also press “ctrl + r”.

Will I get free support and updates on my device?

Yes, all support given to you by the Black Country Connected Programme is free of charge. We will automatically update your device if any software changes are upgraded during the period of your loan period.

Can I download any app on to my device?

You can download all, apart from apps that have been blacklisted by Black Country Connected such as gambling and adult content.

Can I view any web pages using my device?

You can view any web page apart from web sites that have been blacklisted by Black Country Connected such as gambling and adult sites.

How do I search for something on the internet?

You can type what it is you want to search in the search box at the top of the page.

There are various search engines you can use such as Google, Bing, Yahoo. If you would like to search an engine that doesn't collect or store your personal information, DuckDuckGo is privately focused that it doesn't even look at your location or IP address.

Can I give my device to someone else to use?

The device will be used only by yourself and your family and should not be loaned to others outside of your place of residence.

What if I want to withdraw my consent from the Programme?

You can withdraw your consent at any time by contacting a member of the Black Country Connected Team. If consent is withdrawn within the first four weeks, we will delete all collected information relating to you and contact you to arrange return of the device. If consent is withdrawn after four weeks’ time, we will keep the baseline survey you completed for analysis at the end of the Programme and arrange a date for return of your device.

Once you have reached the end of your three month period, a member of the Black Country Connected team will contact you to discuss further actions and your experience with the device.

If you are a professional and would like to refer someone to receive a digital device, please contact Emma Sharman