National lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic have seen people rely on digital technology more than ever to stay connected. With the restrictions in place stopping people from getting together, families could not meet face to face and had to adapt to video calls and talking on the phone to keep in contact.
For people who are used to using devices like smart phones, laptops and tablets, these changes were not a big issue. However, for those who are used to staying in touch the more traditional ways, there were many hurdles. From not owning a device to not having internet access, there were many people digitally excluded and missing out on social interaction.
From this came the question, how can we prevent our tenants from being at risk of feeling lonely and isolated?
Trivallis has partnered with Digital Communities Wales to increase the confidence of our sheltered scheme residents when using digital devices. Our sheltered tenants are aged over 60 and live in schemes across Rhondda Cynon Taff.
Alix Howells, Community Project Officer at Trivallis, has been organising this project. She said: “We were approached by Digital Communities Wales and thought we could help tenants benefit from their tablet loan scheme. After chatting with Lisa, the Sheltered and Supported Housing Manager, we agreed to apply for the scheme and have been successful in securing a loan of five tablet devices for use by tenants who live in our sheltered schemes, as this is who the project is aimed at.
“Once the tablets have been allocated, tenants will need to complete an agreement form where we can allocate the devices for a specific amount of time and tailor the support needed, based on the individual. Each person that takes part in the scheme will receive a support pack, full of helpful information on using the tablets to stay connected and additional support will be provided by Digital Communities Wales.”
The roll out of this scheme will see sheltered tenants that are currently missing out due to lack of access, grow more confidence in using digital devices for tasks and connecting with others.
Alix continued: “I’m looking forward to seeing how this pilot project goes with our five devices. Going forward, we are hoping this partnership leads to securing more devices that we can make available for loan to all tenants, regardless of age or where they live. We want to enable everyone to complete online tasks, like ordering their shopping and accessing support. Most importantly, we want to help people to remain connected with their loved ones.”
If you are a sheltered tenant who is interested in signing up to this project, please speak to your sheltered scheme manager for more information.
If you require any additional support, please contact us.