THE Irish in Britain (IIB) organisation has launched a new project to help Irish community members who are inexperienced with digital technology through their enforced isolation this Christmas.
The pilot project, which is supported by the National Lottery Community Fund and The Department for Media, Culture and Sports, sees the group partner with KOMP–Pro No Isolation - a company which has designed a communication tool for those unfamiliar or unconfident with digital devices.
Their product combines a single button, TV-like device with a secure web platform and built-in Wi-Fi that allows visual and verbal communication and messaging between an isolated individual and their friends, family and carers across the world.
“With the pandemic and the need for physical distance restricting most community activities and even family visits, many of our member groups have responded innovatively and creatively to support their local communities,” IIB states.
“Member organisations have set up activities online, researching and testing ways to keep our community connected and digitally included.
“Some of our community, however, are still isolated due to digital exclusion for a number of reasons including a lack of access to the internet or lack of technology skills to use touch screens or smart phones.”
They add: “We have partnered with four of our member organisations to supply a total of 16 KOMP devices to support older, isolated clients within their own homes to use this simple and effective means of connecting with family, friends, carers and support services.”
The charity, which has Irish clubs, centres and associations across Britain among its membership, hopes the project will better equip their members to help those who rely on their services.
“The Covid–19 crisis has had a profound impact on social isolation and mental health across society,” IIB states.
“[We] see this project as a new opportunity to help equip our member organisations with the means to combat the loneliness and isolation felt by so many who depend on their services.”
They hope to extend the six–month pilot project, which was launched this month, in the future.
For further information about the project email Ann Gould [email protected]ishinbritain.org.