Surrey Coalition of Disabled People

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Tech to Community Connect

Introduction to the Project

Unpaid carers, people who are Disabled, people who are older and people who have long-term health condition, or mental health-illness are all at a higher risk of experiencing loneliness.   We have instigated a project to provide technology, support in using technology and virtual groups to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation in people with care and support needs across Surrey. 

What if they don’t have a computer or smart phone? 

If people do not have their own device already, we can lend them a device called a ‘phablet’ for 6 months after which they can decide if they would like to make a donation towards its cost to keep it (so that we can buy a replacement) or if they would like to give it back to us. 

 What about if they don’t have any Wi-Fi in my home?

This phablet device has a sim card inside it and this means that you do not need to have Wi-Fi installed in your home.  You simply ‘top up’ the card when you need more data – it works in the same way as getting a phone top-up.   When we first give you the device, it comes loaded up with some data already.  The sim card that this data is on becomes yours to keep – even if you decide not to keep the phablet device. 

Who will help me to learn how to use it? 

We have a team of volunteers and we call them our ‘Tech Angels’.  We will match participants up with a Tech Angel if they would like someone to help them learn how to use the phablet device that we have supplied.  The Tech Angel will give some training in how to stay safe online and how to join virtual groups and how to join other meetings that some people go to in-person but that could be joined by video. We link closely to the Surrey County Council wellbeing hub.

Covid 19 and adjustments

Tech Angels would visit participants and support them, however the current social distancing prohibits this and therefore support will be via telephone or text in the interim. All support is provided by DBS vetted volunteers.

Can anyone join?

If they are over 18 and are struggling to attend activities, groups or meetings in-person because they have a health condition, are disabled or have a caring responsibility or another significant barrier that stops them being able to get out and about then please get in touch

Requirements of participants

Surrey University are helping us to measure the impact of our work.  Participants will be asked questions about their feelings of isolation and loneliness at the start, 2-week point and closure of their involvement. All data will be anonymised before it is shared with Surrey University. 

Acceptance Referral

All referrals are considered, however priority will be given to those referrals that:

  • Live in Surrey,
  • Do not currently have a device, and are unable to afford a device
  • Have a disability, caring responsibility, mental ill-health or other vulnerability

What next?

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