To combat the effects of coronavirus, Riverside has been rolling out 100s of pieces of IT kit to help our tenants, with the aim reducing social isolation by getting them online to stay in touch with family and friends.
As part of this, we identified a need for further digital training for residents, using our own volunteer network of ‘digital champions’ to support them to learn basic IT skills because many of them have never used a computer before.
Over the past few years and continuing during the pandemic, our digital champions have been on hand, enabling residents to access vital online services remotely, such as booking a doctor’s appointment, ordering shopping, managing finances, logging onto online educational courses or looking for a job, as well as connecting to online tenancy services from their homes.
During last summer, Riverside’s care and support teams bought hundreds of tablets to benefit customers of all ages. We worked with EE to get the best deal on the equipment and to provide appropriate data packages for residents. This has been a vital resource to help our customers to stay connected during the crisis and for those who haven’t been able to access wi-fi in communal lounges across our supported housing and retirement schemes.
Many of Riverside’s residents in retirement living and supported housing across the country are benefitting from ‘mi-fi’ units – these are portable wireless routers which connect to the internet via the mobile networks, enabling customers to access the internet from their rooms instead of communal lounges.
Learn my way
Riverside is registered as a UK online centre with the Good Things Foundation, which means our customers have free access to an online learning tool called Learn My Way.
Anyone can create an account and start to use the learning packages. Whether it’s learning to use a keyboard for the first time or installing WhatsApp on your phone, there’s a free and easy to understand way of doing that.
I would really recommend you have a look at learnmyway.com and dive in because there is something for everybody on the site.
Andy Cave is the digital inclusion project officer at Riverside Group.