Digital workshops an independence boost for disabled East Ham residents

21 March 2017

Supported housing residents with learning disabilities in East Ham have gained new forms of independence thanks to a digital training course.

Andrew Bailey learning how to use an iPhone as part of Get Online Week

Residents at Sanctuary Supported Living’s (SSL) Cleves Road service have been taking part in six weekly tutorial sessions as part of the Sanctuary Online initiative, which runs in partnership with training provider We Are Digital.

The sessions have helped a number of residents use email for the first time and order shopping online completely independently, instead of requiring support from staff to accompany them on trips to the supermarket.

Tutors from We Are Digital worked in teams and one-on-one to help residents understand how to use the Internet on the digital devices most familiar to them, whether PC, laptop, phone or tablet.

Resident Andrew Bailey, a keen cyclist, learnt how to access and use apps on his smartphone, including one that highlights the best cycling routes in the area.

He said: “I never really looked at the Internet before; I didn’t really know how to use it. The lessons have been fantastic – I can try a different route every day!”

SSL local service manager Gail Hall said: “Many of our residents lack the financial means to have a personal internet connection, and a lack of understanding has deterred them from using public access points at a library.

"The benefits of having this knowledge have been transformative: they can pop out to the library, check their online banking, order their food and email friends and family on their own. It’s a fantastic complement to their existing independent living support."

The benefits of having this knowledge have been transformative: they can pop out to the library, check their online banking, order their food and email friends and family on their own. It’s a fantastic complement to their existing independent living support.

Gail Hall, SSL Local Service Manager

SSL services like Cleves Road provide residents with support to develop independent living skills, such as managing finances, eating healthily and understanding benefit payments, work experience and training opportunities.

National figures released by Age UK show that 12.6 million people lacked the digital skills necessary to access the Internet in 2016.

Sanctuary Online aims to train around 600 residents across the country and improve their digital skills so they can take advantage of the online world. As part of the programme, there is also a City and Guilds qualification available for residents who want to use the training to improve their employability skills.

Courses are open to Sanctuary residents of all ages and skill levels. To book a session at your home, text Sanctuary to 07537 416 944, call 03333 442 561 or email sanctuary@we-are-digital.co.uk.

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Sanctuary Supported Living is a trading name of Sanctuary Housing Association and Sanctuary Home Care Limited, both exempt charities. Images used on our website and literature may be representative and are for illustration purposes only.

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