Dear colleagues and friends,
The world is a worrying place at the moment, particularly for people who are facing the prospect of self-isolating for periods of anywhere between 2-12 weeks.
Despite this, I have two very positive thoughts. The first is that this is a time when technology and digital inclusion activities can really come into their own and play a role in supporting people through challenging times. If the elderly or vulnerable in our society can access and use digital technology over the coming weeks, it means they will be able to stay connected, socialise online, shop for groceries, find health information and access resources and activities to keep them occupied.
Secondly, the organisations and volunteers which do an incredible job supporting the most vulnerable in our society, are not alone. Digital Communities Wales and its team of expert trainers and advisors are on hand to help get your clients and service users online. We can provide advice via telephone or through video conferencing – just phone us on 0300 111 5050 or email digitalcommunities(at)wales.coop if you need our support.
Events are moving very fast, we are working as a team to develop specific resources that will be accessible in the coming days and weeks on our Digital Communities Wales website. In the meantime, please take a look at a couple of very useful links and resources we’ve compiled below to get you started.
Take care of yourselves and one another,
Lara Ramsay, Director of Inclusive Communities
- Become a digital companion
Digital Companions are people who support a friend, neighbour or family member to get online and use technology. If you know someone who needs one-to-one support from a trusted face, let them know you’re willing to help them. Whilst you may not be able to support them face-to-face (if they have a pre-existing health condition or are vulnerable, you must stay away to control the spread of the virus), you can talk them through simple tasks on the phone.
- Learn my Way – learn how to use the internet
Learn My Way is a website of free online resources, built by our partners the Good Things Foundation, to help people develop their digital skills.
The website contains over 30 free courses designed to help beginners get started with the online basics – using a mouse, keyboard, setting up email accounts and using internet search engines – while also offering plenty to help people develop their digital skills further. There are modules to help people make video calls, socialise online and shop online which are particularly helpful for people to stay connected in these challenging times.
Please signpost people to these useful resources. You could even work through the modules with them over the phone if they need support.
- How to protect your mental health
The outbreak COVID-19 may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress and looking after your mental health will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger. There is a lot of online advice and news articles out there to help people through this period of change.
- Signpost people to reliable health information sites
Where should your service users turn for the latest information on a rapidly changing situation? We know there’s a lot of useful and reliable information online but there’s also a lot of misinformation. Stick to official government and international accredited health sites: