A successful inclusion project by a local charity is enabling more adults with learning disabilities in Northamptonshire to adapt to the digital world.
Thanks to various funding from Good Things Foundation and The National Lottery, Teamwork Trust – which supports autistic adults and people with additional needs, disabilities and mental health conditions – has been steadily kitting out its cohort with more than 80 brand new tablets and mobile phones over the last year.
The project means the charity’s service-users in Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough now have digital devices to use at home.
Victoria Bell, Head of Development at Teamwork Trust, said:
“This is such a huge feat for us as a charity – being able to give so many of our service-users devices to access the internet has made such a big difference to the adults we support. They can carry out day-to-day tasks online like food shopping and emails, stay in touch with their loved ones and even take part in our online learning, qualifications and activities.
“Adults with learning disabilities and mental health conditions are often among those most excluded from technology, and even before the pandemic, our service-users were telling us they wanted to be more digitally included. This project was always something we were working towards at Teamwork Trust, but COVID definitely sped it up and made it even more of a priority, especially since we have had to move most of our own support services online.”
Jenny, who attends the Wellingborough centre and moved care homes during the peak of the pandemic, says she is feeling more confident and reassured than ever:
“I am so happy to have my own tablet. Teamwork helped me learn how to use it to speak to my friends and my mum, dad, and sister on video calls. I have surprised myself by how well I picked it up. I have new ways to stay in touch with people now, and I have learnt so much.”
Oscar Prior – a local business graduate and long-term volunteer at Teamwork who had his plans to do a Masters put on hold due to COVID – undertook a project to link the devices together so that Teamwork Trust staff can also set activities and add restrictions remotely where needed.
“We’re so grateful to Oscar and our funders for enabling us to achieve this project. As we start to ease out of lockdown, we intend to continue our remote support and eventually reopen our centres too. These devices and having them all linked together via a network will mean that our adults with learning disabilities and mental health conditions are not disadvantaged in the future. We have also spent lots of time working with our service users and their carers to make sure everyone is up to speed and able to confidently use the technology. This fast-paced digital world is here to stay, and our people are better prepared to live independently in it.”
For more information on Teamwork Trust, please visit: www.teamworktrust.co.uk.