Many of us don’t have to think twice about how to send an email, join a video call or share a Facebook post, but for some, technology doesn’t feel that simple.
Futures’ customers aged over 55, have been supported to gain confidence and skills in using the internet and digital devices, so the response to sending a message is no longer “WhatsApp, what’s that?”
Colleagues at our independent living service, Beep Assist have been working in partnership with Business in the Community, who run a digital inclusive programme called ‘ClickSilver’. The four-session programme matches vulnerable and older people with volunteer mentors, who work one to one teaching the basics of using tablets, phones, or PCs.
So far 6 Futures’ customers have completed ClickSilver, with all feeling more confident using technology, and less isolated by being able to easily keep in touch with loved ones at the click of a button. A further 19 are working their way through the programme.
One Futures' customer said the programme has made her more independent: “I felt lonely before starting ClickSilver. It was difficult for someone of my age to know how to use a tablet, so I used to rely on other people to do it for me, but now I can do things myself.”
All customers were kindly donated a tablet as part of the programme, so they could continue using the internet and apps after the sessions finished.
The Futures' customer added: “I had no idea how to use a tablet before. I found it difficult at the beginning, but now I know how it works it’s great! It’s been a very lovely experience, my mentor was so good and happy to repeat things as needed. I can now listen to music, particularly classical and older music from the sixties, which brings me much enjoyment.
“I like going to my local community centre to use my tablet there. I’ve since made a lot of new friends and we sit and talk about music. I’ve even joined an exercise class there too, so now I’m going out every day!”
We’re so pleased at Futures for how successful this initial trial has gone. The team at Beep Assist has done a fantastic job getting customers signed up and seeing the positive difference it’s made to their lives is what it’s all about.
Having access to the internet is becoming more and more of a necessity in connecting customers to their loved ones and even in their day-to-day life. We’ll be rolling out Wi-Fi in our sheltered schemes, Saxon House and Warwick Court in Daventry this month, and we already have customer Wi-Fi in place at Valerie Hanson House, Rushton and Mayors Walk.
While the intake for this ClickSilver pilot has finished, we'll review further access to the scheme once our trial has fully completed, and we'll continue to look for other opportunities to support our customers wellbeing and needs.