Residents at Osborne Villas, our sheltered housing scheme in Jesmond, are embracing the world of digital, thanks to a brilliant example of peer learning.
Digitally savvy resident, Isobel Maughan, has stepped in as a digital buddy for other residents living at the scheme, helping them to get connected to the Wi-Fi and navigate a range of digital tools, such as email, online banking, and video calling friends and family.
Isobel said: “What for some may seem very familiar is for others quite a challenge, and as someone who is quite confident when it comes to digital, I wanted to do what I could to help.
“I try to explain things in terms that people can relate to and understand. I use the analogy of a chest of drawers quite a lot. Same as in a real chest of drawers, where one drawer contains socks and another jumpers, in the digital chest of drawers one area is where they keep their photos, another their important documents, and so on.
“It seems to work and people have told me it’s a helpful way of thinking about it.”
Moira Affleck is one of the residents who has benefitted greatly from a helping hand from Isobel.
“I’ve never been a very technical person so doing anything on the iPad was quite overwhelming. But thanks to Isobel my digital confidence has really grown. She is always happy to help and uses language I can understand. She’s been a real life saver.
“I’m now using my phone to store train tickets and my email, I do a lot of banking online and I regularly FaceTime my son who lives in Japan. It’s wonderful!”
We've recently installed Wi-Fi hubs in the communal areas of all 36 of our sheltered housing schemes across the region. By providing customers with a level of connectivity at no extra cost, our supported housing team hopes this investment will help reduce levels of digital exclusion amongst customers.
Jon McDonald, Head of Supported Housing at Karbon Homes, said: “Access to the internet has become as basic a requirement as heating and hot water for many people, and over the past couple of years we’ve noticed an increase in new customers viewing flats in our schemes enquiring about internet access.
"The roll out of Wi-Fi in the communal areas of our sheltered schemes has been an important step for us, as it takes great strides in helping our retirement living customers access services easily, which in turn can help them live more independently, and stay connected and get more involved in what’s going on in their area.”