Our volunteers are helping local residents to get the most out of their devices, and keep connected in troubled times

With social distancing measures in place, we're doing more and more essential tasks online. Our digital champions make sure that local residents that need some support don't get left behind.
Volunteer digital champions and local residents at a Healthwatch training session

Zoom meetings, websites constantly being updated with new information about coronavirus, virtual GP appointments and social distancing - it's never been more important to be able to find your way around the digital space.

Our volunteers are helping local people to understand the benefits of being online, and to develop confidence with their devices. As well as making online services accessible, they work to give people the digital skills they need to keep connected with friends and family.

As well as offering open sessions, we have also been working with providers of social housing and sheltered accommodation to offer digital training to their residents.

Getting to grips with smartphones and tablets

Kieran has been living in the borough since the 1960s. He came along to his first training session in December last year. He brought his Samsung mobile phone, but wasn't very comfortable using it. He had voicemail messages he didn't know how to listen to, and WhatsApp messages that he didn't know how to open. Due to physical disability, Kieran found using the keypad quite difficult and responded well to reassurance from our digital champions to help him gain confidence in using his phone.

We helped him to set up his email address. He learned how to save contacts to his phone and retrieve phone numbers. Kieran found the support he was given helpful and attended all the drop in sessions he could.

He learned about the digital assistant - that's a piece of voice activated software that can carry out a range of tasks for you based on your command. Kieran used it to find out information online and to send voice activated messages. He started to use WhatsApp to message his sister, and send her photos. He also learned how to increase the number of rings before calls to his phone diverted to voicemail.

Help accessing digital services

As Kieran's ability grew, we helped him to register with the web portal provided by Clarion, his housing provider:

  • the web portal enables him to report repairs, view his account and pay bills.
  • We showed him how to save it on his phone as a bookmarked site, so he could find it quickly whenever he needed it.
  • He practiced using the portal with our digital champions over a couple of training sessions, to get a bit more comfortable with it.

Get digital support

It's been great to see Kieran’s confidence grow over the months. Unfortunately, now that social distancing measures are in place we can no longer offer face to face training. However, we are still offering support over the phone, and using other platforms where that is practical. If you're an Islington resident and you're interested please get in touch.

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