VANL launches Digital Friends pilot to help people get online

Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire (VANL) has launched a Digital Friends initiative to provide remote one-to-one digital support.

Friday, 30th April 2021, 1:27 pm
The pilot project will run until July

This pilot project is running until July with four partner organisations, Befriend Motherwell, CACE, NL Disability Forum and Glenboig Development Trust.

Priority is being given to elderly and vulnerable people, however the scheme is open to anyone at risk of being isolated or excluded due to Covid.

All support will be done remotely, first over the phone and then through Zoom calls as digital skills develop.

Finn Arschavir, Digital Inclusion and Remote Befriending Project assistant at VANL, said: “There are many different reasons why someone may be digitally excluded; either because of financial circumstances, lack of confidence or motivation, for health or other reasons.

"These people are also likely to be socially isolated or lonely as so many services are now online and opportunities for social connection are limited.

"We encourage volunteers to build a friendly relationship and create tailored personalised training sessions based on experience and ability.

"If there is someone they know and trust, learners will be more likely to persevere and continue using digital technology to become independent users.”

Finn has created structured session plans to assist volunteers in guiding the learners through fundamental and basic digital skills..

Anyone without access to a digital device may be able to get a loan on one in order to get a feel for it, and can then be advised on how to go about purchasing their own.

For those not be in a financial position to do, another initiative will be running called Techshare.

Finn said: “This is a device refurbishment and gifting scheme which was put on hold due to the restrictions but we’re hoping to open up soon.

"I would appeal to the public to donate unwanted devices to LAMH Recycle which will refurbish them and we can then gift the devices to those who need them.”

Once the pilot project is completed in July the learning from it will be published on the VANL website.

For more information call 01236 748 011.