from Sue, during lockdown...

 

9th November, 2020
Sue

A second lockdown started on 5th November and so this continues to be a challenging time for everyone. As we are a charity delivering courses, we will be sticking to the covid-precautions already in place and will be staying open.

We are aware that some people will be isolated during this lockdown. Our CyberCafe is staying online – you can book a slot here. Harriett and Helen are on hand to help you work through free LearnMyWay courses which teach you how to look after your health online, look for work, stay in touch with loved ones, use internet and email and much more! Our Ageing Better Middlesbrough Community Development Team are also providing a befriending service,  digital activities, activity packs, walk in the park and one-to-one IT support. 

Digital Divide

The last lockdown highlighted more than ever the differences between parts of the community in relation to access to devices, data and skills. This led to me writing a blog for MVDA, “Let’s work together to get basic digital access for Middlesbrough residents“. This blog post sparked huge interest and brought people to action across the Tees Valley. It has led to a Tees wide commitment to reduce the digital divide and, through the Middlesbrough Collective. The Hope Foundation is working to be instrumental in bringing positive results for the community as a whole.

We have been busy raising funds to address the new and unprecedented challenges the community is facing. These have enabled us to: –

  1. buy new lap tops for staff during lockdown
    • thanks to County Durham Community Fund
  2. receive a donation of 10 tablets with data which we donated to local residents,
    • thanks to Good Things Foundation and devicesdotcom.
      Read Emma and Diana’s stories on the Good Things Foundation website
  3. run a devices pilot to collect and distribute donated technology
    • with Middlesbrough Council
  4. create a device library with a contribution of 30 tablets and some free data to loan to local people
    • thanks to the Community Fund.
  5. buy and distribute over 60 tablets to those who are lonely and isolated in the community and local care homes
    • thanks to Ageing Better Middlesbrough.
  6. play a leading role in developing a website to collect previously loved devices from individuals and companies and redistribute these to local people and charities through the Middlesbrough Collective
    • thanks to the County Durham Community Fund. This has gone out to tender.
  7. receive government support towards premises costs
    • from Middlesbrough Council’s Business Coronavirus Support Fund

Device library

We successfully launched our device library on Monday 19th October during Get Online Week. We have over 30 devices, 5 of which are bring used with Adult Social Care to improve access to healthcare, allowing patients to join eConsultations with their GP. Others have been loaned to learners to allow them to continue their courses online.

The Hope Foundation is staying open during lockdown and even if you cannot make it to the centre we may have something for you.

Stay safe, stay active and keep learning.

Sue