A housing association has joined forces with an IT training company and a charity to provide free internet training to its tenants in an effort to fight social isolation.
Viridian Housing, Student@Home and charity U Can Do IT have joined together to provide training to 300 residents over the age of 50 to help combat social isolation. Viridian Housing manages over 16,000 homes in the Midlands, West Sussex and London.
With this new partnership Student@Home will be providing one-to-one internet training in tenants’ homes through a tablet computer. For those with complex needs, such as visual impairments, U Can Do IT will provide specialist support, reports 24dash.
For those whose first language is not English interpreters will be provided and all trainers will receive Dementia and Vulnerability training.
The programme is funded by Viridian as part of its social impact agenda to help improve the quality of life for its customers. All the training will be provided for free. Those taking part will also receive post-training IT support as well to guide them buying tablets and broadband to support long-term internet use. There will also be free mobile phone training residents.
The digital inclusion strategy was created after a survey estimated 40% of its tenants didn’t have access to the internet; the majority of whom were older people living independently in their homes.
Kelly Klein, founder and CEO of Student@Home, said: “It is a really exciting and innovative project that ties in with Student@Home’s core social values. The training will have a positive impact for residents and help reduce social isolation for hundreds of residents across the UK.”
Matt Campion, Viridian’s director of social impact, added: “While it is exciting to be part of the technological world, for those who are not part of this or who are falling behind, it can feel frightening and confusing which can add to feelings of helplessness, loneliness and isolation. Our pilot study showed that not only are our older residents keen to learn but that during the pilot, 70% of the residents trained had already shared their skills with someone else, which will further help to combat social isolation and share valuable skills needed in this technologically focused world.”
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