Digital Health Hub: Cross Gates and District Good Neighbours – COVID-19

The Digital Health Hub at Cross Gates and District Good Neighbours in partnership with 100% Digital Leeds is continuing to use digital technology to support their members who are socially isolated at this time.

There was a lot of uncertainty, worry and upset with the centre having to close last week to its 1200 members who are over 60, but the staff and volunteers are working extremely hard to keep their members socially connected and quipped with resources and supplies.

The digital champions have reached out to those without devices or without Wi-Fi and are using their tablet lending scheme to equip them with iPads and resources to enable them to FaceTime friends and family as well as finding enjoyment in game and colouring apps at this anxious time.  The members find it helps to turn off the TV and stay relaxed using these apps for enjoyment and they say they “keep their brain going”!

Developing the Digital Health Hub over the last 6 months and seeing hundreds of members now engaged in digital, the staff and volunteers didn’t want to lose this momentum and members lose their confidence and interest, it was vital to provide a digital offer now virtually instead.

Staying Socially Connected

The team have developed instructions for their members to support them in using the Zoom app, trialling their first Virtual Coffee Morning last week with digital champions who could interact, feel less isolated and have a laugh.  The breakout room feature within the app enabled them to choose an activity, for example one breakout room from the main chat could be a Virtual Quiz, another Chair Exercises or just dancing to music and another for general chat and interactions.  We are trialling this on a weekly basis offering these digital activity sessions as a way of boosting morale, ensuring members don’t lose contact and supporting them in building friendships and connections.

Video showing the Virtual Coffee Morning:


Members Rob and Harold keeping in touch via Zoom app

The first trial was hilarious with members doing the moves to YMCA on the screen and then dancing to a little bit of Elvis – Suspicious Minds (Which is a big favourite!).  Getting the hang of the video calling and using the camera was also a good laugh, with many ears and chins being shown on the screens!

For many members it was their first video call and first experience seeing themselves on camera!

“I would have put my lipstick on if I’d known I was going to be famous on the screen!”  

We’re also exploring the app House Party which looks like great fun with games, karaoke battles, quizzes and interactive games through video call.  It notifies members when someone is “in the house”, this means they’re not alone even if they are living alone, “Margaret’s in the house”. 

As well as these fun apps, we are going to continue our 1-1 and group digital support sessions but are delivering them with the support of our Digital Champions using Whats App video calling. We are theming these around topics on such as Online Safety, using Social Media Platforms to stay connected and support with Online Shopping.