Keeping Connected

We’ll Meet Again – keeping connected to the people and things we care about

If we didn’t know it already, the lockdown has taught us that being in contact with other people and things that are important to us is vital. Many people have really struggled over this period as connection has become harder, our supports have become stretched or even disappeared. The sharp end of people not having access to tech and data or being able and comfortable to use them has also become revealed.  At the same time, during the pandemic many more of us are finding ways to keep connected with family and friends -with smart phones, lap-tops, tablets and more. Zoom is no longer the name of an ice-lolly from the 1970s.

Circles, In Control and Social Care Future, with support from Nesta have been asking people what they need to stay connected. We have heard things are very varied from place to place but common issues are:

  • wi-fi-connection
  • availability of kit, like tablets and smart phones
  • help for people to use kit
  • paying for data
  • creative ways of keeping in touch
  • access to content to pursue interests
  • connection without tech

Around the country many people have been responding to these challenges – councils, organisations, support providers, mutual aid, charities and others. They have been taking action like setting up schemes to connect people needing kit to those who can supply it, paying for data, developing easy to use guides to zoom etc. Of course, many people are not comfortable using modern technology and we are seeing people come up with ways to respond to this as well.

It’s also clear that the pandemic is revealing truths about connections that will be important far beyond the period of the virus.

Supported by Nesta we are making a contribution by sharing ideas and information about these approaches and through setting up our own small “Kit for Connection” scheme within the Social Care Future movement. This web page is the place to visit to find out what we are doing and hopefully to pick up good ideas that you can use yourself. Here you will find, constantly updated:

  • Examples of approaches and resources with summaries and links
  • Information about upcoming webinars and sharing sessions
  • An opportunity to take part in our Kit for Connection Scheme

At this stage we are sharing just a few examples and resources under some simple categories that we hope people will find useful in helping you with what you are doing or thinking about. Please share your examples to help us build this up over the coming weeks. Watch out for our webinars and online sharing sessions on practical issues. People are asking, for example:

  • What are your best tips for setting up a local laptop and phone refurbishment scheme?
  • Have you set up a kit donation and exchange scheme – how does it work?
  • What issues of risk and safeguarding are coming up? How can you resolve these without getting in the way of people connecting?
  • How can get people get practical support to use tech?
  • What about the costs of broadband?
  • Lots of people we know don’t use tech, what great ideas are there for them?
  • How can my organisation learn from everyone’s experience to adapt what we do?

What have you got, what do you need?

Please share information and ideas, tell us if you need some kit and if you are able to donate kit or some money here. If you are able to donate directly please use our justgiving link here.

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We wanted to draw together the most helpful resources for others to use, in our ‘Kit for Connection’. Click on any of the links below for helpful information about each of the topics.

General guides and advice

Online/phone conversations

Getting kit to people

Not all about tech

Creative content

Guides to online tools

Access to broadband/technical support