We are delighted to have been able to provide nine Care Network customers with all the equipment they need to get online. Laptops with two years’ of free internet have been given to these customers most of whom have never owned a computer before. At 51, Janet is the youngest to receive the equipment, and Bill who will soon turn 90, being the eldest.

The people we identified were those most isolated due to the Covid-19 safety measures. Most of the nine recipients live alone, and prior to the lockdown would access social groups at Care Network Hub.  

Positive Smiles, a Care Network partner, has provided training so that everyone is confident and able to use their new equipment. With this guidance, training and a little perseverance, these nine recipients will be able to contact each other online, participate in online social groups and peer support which will help them feel more connected and less isolated.

The group has been learning how to access free services from Lancashire Libraries, how to join online groups using Zoom including The Men’s Club, Relax and Chat and the Learning Disability and Autism Partnership boards and will also learn what else the internet can offer which will hopefully aid their independence at home, learning about internet banking and shopping online.

'If you're not learning, you are old... If you keep learning, you stay young' 

Bill Oxendale

The equipment will make the difference between having little or no interaction with other people because of social distancing and the lockdown rules, to being able to see and speak to friends and family using the internet, a privilege that many of us take for granted each day. 

Funding for this much-needed digital access has come from The Digital Freedom 50+ (Lancashire) project which is administered by Selnet, in partnership with Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership (DSP) with funding from the Community Foundation for Lancashire.