Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association – Carol’s story

Digital Communities

Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association – Carol’s story

Carol* is a 75 year old lady who lives alone. Carol has a few friends and attends a residents group but has no family around. Her daughter lives in Cornwall and her Grandchildren live abroad. Carol took a little convincing to borrow a laptop from the housing association; she had never used a smart phone, or laptop and her exact words were, ‘I wouldn’t even know how to turn it on.’ Carol said that her daughter used a computer to contact her grandchildren abroad and that she would love to be able to do that too – she missed her family and it was important to her that she see her grandchildren grow.

Staff at Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association set up  a skype account for Carol, and did several home visits in the first week or two as Carol really needed a lot of support with it. Carol also had some support from a friend who lives close by and started attending a ‘Lunch & Learn’ session where she could learn some basic computer skills.

At the Lunch and Learn session, Carol showed a lot of progression from her first session and was able to turn the laptop on, type in a password and set up an email address. This was quite an achievement for her and it was obvious that her confidence has grown. With a little support, she was also able to browse websites such as Tesco and Marks and Spencer online. One of the biggest impacts of the project however, was Carol’s attitude toward using the internet. She is now much more positive and open to doing things online, and has even invested in a smartphone.

As the project progresses, Carol hopes to learn how to use a comparison site to save money on her energy bills, and also hopes to learn how to look at activities and days out online so that she can relay these to the residents group she attends. Being able to do these things online will inevitably have the impact of saving her money, and widening her knowledge about the local area.

*Names have been changed to protect identities.

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