Walderslade Together CIC
Digital inclusion for socially isolated people
Addressing the need for digital inclusion and support for older and socially isolated people
About Walderslade Together CIC (WALT)
Walderslade Together CIC (WALT) works to reduce social isolation, with a focus on supporting those who are elderly, disabled and vulnerable. They work closely with the Net Community Hub to provide a programme for people that enables them to develop links in their own community and a haven for people to meet and relax in a supportive atmosphere.
The funded project and its benefits
The funding was used to pay for four runs of their “Know Your Tech” course, held on Tuesday mornings, introducing older and more vulnerable people to understand and work with smart technology. For those without the means to use technology we purchased 12 ‘phablets’, each with a year’s data, that were loaned out to those that could not afford to purchase these themselves, so they needn’t lose out because they don’t have the means to afford it. The programme and its contents were adapted to best meet the needs of those present – for example the main aim for most people was communication, so their sessions focussed on making voice calls, video calling and messaging. They also ran sessions on shopping and security online. The last part of the award was used to purchase Zoom membership for a year, so that those who couldn’t attend activities in person could still join in virtually. Altogether, 14 people to date have attended the Know Your Tech programme and/or have taken advantage of the phablet library.
“We were able to support one lady in her ‘90s to attend Bingo through zoom despite breaking her hip on the day services reopened.
We had another lady who has been able to reunite with her sister in Spain and now speaks to her daily through WhatsApp. The smile on her face as she first saw her was priceless.
An unexpected benefit came when one of our volunteers fell down garden stairs and broke her neck and we were able to get a phablet to her in hospital and show her how to use it. In doing that it enabled her to contact family in Australia as well as the UK and reassure them she was alright. Once out of hospital, having had spinal surgery, the phablet use meant she wasn’t on her own and could still see all her friends both at WALT and wider and meant her family could see her and reassure themselves she was okay. Having worked well with the phablet she was able to consider updating her own equipment and now loves using emojis in all her messages.
We have been able to introduce people to internet shopping and banking, one in-particular who was previously frightened of anything to do with technology now has an account with Amazon and is aware of internet security which has given her the confidence to buy things online which has then translated into other parts of her life. It’s great to see the difference in her.”