At the height of the COVID-19 crisis in the summer of 2020, our wellbeing calls to vulnerable Cartrefi Conwy tenants highlighted two key issues, namely isolation and digital exclusion. While the country was getting to grips with the likes of WhatsApp, FaceTime and Zoom, a significant section of our community simply did not have the means, knowledge or skills to be able to access services which were rapidly becoming essential for remaining connected to the outside world.
From this crisis, the Loan IT pilot project was born. Funding and donations from Gwynt Y Môr, Cartrefi Conwy and Digital Communities Wales allowed us to loan data-enabled tablets to our most vulnerable and isolated tenants. These tenants were paired with volunteers specially trained by Digital Communities Wales as ‘Digital Champions’, who offered support and encouragement over the phone and then in person according to social distancing guidelines.
The pilot project was a huge success, with a number of tenants purchasing their own devices, utilising devices which had previously been gathering dust, and even having Wi-Fi installed in their homes! These small but significant wins, plus additional devices from Digital Communities Wales, will allow us to extend and expand the project to reach more tenants in the near future.
Would you like to train and volunteer as a ‘Digital Champion’? Click here to find out more and register your interest!