Helping local residents from refugee and migrant communities use their smartphones to stay healthy

An innovative partnership to improve wellbeing launched yesterday.
Digital inclusion workshop

A partnership between Healthwatch Islington, the mobile phone provider Three, and six local community organisations launched yesterday at Three's training space on Upper Street. Staff from the participating organisations attended a workshop where they learnt how to unlock the full potential of their smartphones and tablets. They will pass this learning on to Islington residents who have a mobile phone but who don't necessarily know how to get the most of it, at a series of workshops in March.

The 'Log On' workshops are aimed at older residents from refugee and migrant communities who have existing health conditions. Maria Gonzalez, Information and Engagement Manager at Healthwatch Islington, who helped to set up the project said,

Previous research had shown us that older people from these communities wanted to do more to look after their own health, but there was a knowledge gap. They didn't know what support was out there. This project is going to increase their awareness of health services, and of low cost opportunities for self care, like keep fit classes.

There is also evidence that these particular groups are being left behind in terms of digital inclusion. But there are more and more things you have to do online, for example paying your bills or applying for benefits. We need to make sure everybody is given the skills they need. This project is going to help us address that.

Those attending the workshops will learn how to book GP appointments and repeat prescriptions on their phone. They will also learn how to use their phone to get information about local health services, and advice about looking after their health. The training will also cover smartphone software such as WhatsApp. Participants will be shown how to use these apps to do things like setting up walking groups and gym groups, and to keep from feeling isolated.

The 'Log On' project has attracted additional funding from Islington Council, Richard Cloudesley and the Big Lottery Fund. Staff from Three will come out into the community to help deliver the training workshops for no charge.