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Digital Inclusion for the excluded!


Many of our clients are struggling to access the services they need to live independently and well simply because they are off-line! Making appointments with e.g. GPs, mental health services, booking a blood test, ordering covid tests, telling your local authority of your change of circumstances booking a flight, applying for a passport all has be done online. These are now normal ways of doing things for most of us. But if you are off-line then you can be ostracised from these basic rights. And then, we see that many statutory services are working at home and only available on the phone or zoom. It is no wonder people become stressed and exacerbate their wellbeing challenges. They are excluded.  Our team of workers and volunteers are doing their bit by meeting clients face to face and helping them to overcome digital barriers, as well as supporting them with phone calls to services who often are extremely bureaucratic, and process driven rather,  ‘ you are now number 9 in the queue…………..’,  than attempting to provide a person-centred sympathetic response. To ensure that more of our clients get ‘online’ we provide  one-to-one digital training sessions. We notice a big uptake from carers for these sessions. We have  also noticed that our volunteers, during the pandemic have added  ‘case working’ to their roles i.e. advocating for a client who has multiple health and care problems to e.g. access integrated health and care support. This should not have to happen but with statutory services becoming increasingly process driven someone has to stand up for these individuals to help them access what is their right. And it makes sense. Working together as partner agencies around the needs of an individual brings resolution as well as avoiding unnecessary costs of e.g. A&E admission, hospitalisation, end up in a Care Home.