Due to the affects of the pandemic, traditional face to face support services had to be put on hold and our communities become dependant on technology to assess these services. As a result, individuals or families can become ‘digitally isolated’ and lack the ability to connect with friends or engage with services that have to be complete online.
One example of a community being ‘digitally isolated are the families supported by the Watford and Three Rivers Refugee Project (WTRRP) who contacted Watford and Three Rivers Trust (W3RT) seeking funding to purchase laptops for the families they work with. They noted that the families they work with require laptops for a range of issues including:
Applying for leave to remain in the UK
Helping children with homework
Learning English and studying for the UK Citizenship Test.
These families suffered basic practical difficulties and anxiety in ensuring these tasks were completed. After discussing the matter, W3RT were able to identify 10 laptops that they were no longer able to use but, one refurbished, would be suitable for donation to WTRRP who could then provide them to the families they support. These laptops were donated during the Autumn and have been shared with the families in the area.
Now, these families have been able to engage with online services and connect with friends during the lockdown. WTTRP said of one individual “I know that she has never had a computer and has wanted to learn to use one for some time. She lives on her own and has few friends and has been quite lonely and isolated especially during these last months of lockdown. Therefore, having the laptop has given her something to focus on and has the potential of expanding her horizons”. WTTRP also said that the donated laptop enabled an individual that they supported to train for her job as a teaching assistant as well as allowing her children to complete schoolwork.
On hearing the impact that the donated laptops have had on the families supported by WTRRP, W3RT CVS said that “the Covid19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on everyone in our community but especially with those who are socially or digitally isolated. As a result, we were delighted to have supported WTTRP by donating the laptops to the families they support and the feedback from the individual families shows how important being digitally active is.”
To find out more about the Watford and Three Rivers Refugee Partnership, visit their website or the social media channels below.
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