“Supporting members to stay connected through the pandemic”

An update from Seacroft Good Neighbours on the impact of becoming Digital Champions and receiving equipment via the 100% Digital Leeds Tablet Lending Scheme, which has supported them to develop a digital offer for their members.

At Seacroft Good Neighbours our aim is to reduce loneliness and isolation of older people living predominately in Leeds LS14 area, as well as improving the quality of their lives by enabling them to live independently, safely and healthily.

Through the pandemic 100% Digital Leeds have supported us develop a digital offer for our members, which is supporting members mental wellbeing and enabling them to stay connected through lockdown and COVID-19 restrictions.  

Digital Champions

We received digital champion training which was really useful and informative and has enabled us to motivate and engage our members to take their first steps online. Many have low confidence and had previously not seen a need in using digital, so tips in the training have helped us support members to overcome these barriers and develop their digital skills.

We have now begun to develop virtual activities for our members which is combatting loneliness and increasing social connections.  We are providing digital support for members, so more are able to access these sessions.

Our volunteer digital champions have utilised the digital platform Zoom!  During the pandemic there has been an increase in the need for telephone befrienders. We have now setup a weekly space via Zoom where the befrienders can meet and offer each other peer-support and debrief following their calls. In addition, there is also an opportunity for any of the members and volunteers to join a prearranged Zoom meeting each week.

“Thank you! I am now using Zoom on a regular basis thanks to the support from Seacroft Good Neighbours and the 100% Digital Leeds scheme for providing me with a lovely tablet.

When I first got the tablet I didn’t know where to start and because it was so different to anything I had used before, I was anxious about making mistake. But thanks to the patience from the workers they took time out to do individual telephone sessions focusing on one subject each session.

Now I am using social media, which has allowed me to contact family and friends. I have download some applications that help me manage my diet and health appointments”  

Sylvia, aged 78

Providing face to face one to one support has not always been possible due to social distancing and shielding restrictions. In some instances, we have been able to provide over the phone telephone support however this has had its limitations due to some members having poor hearing and us not being able to see the device in person to identify issues. 

We are sharing best practice with other Neighbourhood Networks through the new Digital Inclusion working group to find out the best ways to support people remotely using apps such as Team Viewer.

Lending devices to members

100% Digital Leeds loaned us iPad’s and Alexa’s which we have then lent to our members who have no WI-FI or devices which has given them a wide range of opportunities such as facetiming friends and family.   

“I am a volunteer for an Older Person’s charity and was lucky enough to receive a tablet via the 100% Digital Leeds scheme.  Through the help of the project worker and my family, I have now managed to download some applications, set up an email address and manage my bills!”

Colin, aged 72

We have had ongoing support regarding the setting up of the technology and training information from 100% Digital Leeds which has really helped us, as this has been a new offer for our service and we are developing our own staff skills and confidence too!

“Some of my friends have tablets and often spoke about keeping in touch with their family and friends. I thought it sounded interesting and would help me to see my family during shielding.

This scheme has offered me the opportunity to try things out.  At first, I was supported through the basics of using the touch screen and apps and have progressed on to video calling! I still do have things to learn but thanks also to my grandchildren, who are now helping me play my favourite games and go on to Facebook to speak to family and friends!”

Joan, aged 68

Thank you to Neil, Kate and the team at Seacroft Good Neighbours for this update! It’s fantastic to see the impact this is having for your members, especially at this time.