Northumberland CVA's Re:connect project is a tablet loan scheme for older people that has been funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.
The project is supported by IT volunteers and utilises Northumberland CVA’s links with local community organisations, including Bedlington Creative, Choppington Disability Group & Mind Active.
Re:connect aims to help older people become more digital savvy and keep them connected with each other, with friends and families, and with any local community groups they may have been involved with before the crisis hit. Volunteers help people learn how to use the tablet device either via phone calls or in small group sessions online, giving them the knowledge and skills to not only stay connected during the COVID restrictions but also to more easily re-establish their normal social connections outside of the home once restrictions are eased.
We host weekly Zoom sessions where participants can talk freely about any IT issues they’re having, take part in a fun quiz, and hear from speakers who come and talk to the group.
One lady who has used the Re:connect Tablet Loan Scheme said “This has opened a whole new world to me. The volunteers are so patient when they are talking to me over the phone. I didn’t realise how easy it is to use [a tablet]. I wished I had got one years ago. The best bit for me is each night I facetime my sister and we talk for hours, it’s like we’re in each other's living rooms. Brilliant!”
Karen Cox, Project Co-ordinator for our older people’s services, has written a blog about her work in setting up this new scheme during the pandemic. Read Karen's blog.