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IT loan scheme boosts opportunities for disabled people in Cwmbran

Digital Communities Wales (DCW) supports organisations in a variety of ways, so that those organisations can go on to help the people they work with to improve the way they use digital technologies.

One recent example has been the work we’ve been doing with Scope Cwmbran, an organisation that supports disabled people with cerebral palsy and other physical and learning impairments to lead independent lives.

Scope Cwmbran used to deliver digital inclusion activities with staff and customers, but that stopped when previous funding came to an end. Scope’s customers were no longer able to access support to get online, set up e-mail accounts, shop online, and pursue hobbies and interests. The organisation was keen that its customers did not miss out on the many benefits that being online can bring. DCW met with management to see what could be done to resurrect this work.

A Digital Engagement Improvement Plan was developed to enable Scope to continue providing digital support to its customers. Recommendations contained in the plan were implemented to enable the continuation of digital inclusion activity. Firstly, Scope submitted a proposal for the short term loan of kit from DCW which was successful and they received a number of laptops, iPads and Android tablets. This was complemented by a number of frontline staff and volunteers completing DCW’s one-day ‘Supporting People to Get Online’ training.

The digital inclusion delivery that used to take place at Scope Cwmbran was greatly missed by customers. Scope said “for some of our customers, the use of IT and being online is often the only way they have confidence to shop and order things, so we are very keen to able to continue offering this support.”

The loan of the ICT equipment from DCW has enabled Scope to continue helping customers to improve their digital skills and confidence. The loan of a variety of devices gave individuals the opportunity to try out different equipment, to find which was the most appropriate for them. Using the iPads and Android tablets has enabled Scope to download lots of sensory apps that they would otherwise not been able to use.

Kathleen O’Dwyer, Team Leader at Scope said:
“The training from DCW, which several staff and volunteers attended, was very useful. We were able to share the knowledge and skills learnt amongst both the customer and staff base.”
“The loan of the new equipment has given us the opportunity to review what was needed, to continue giving our customers digital support.”

“We have looked at funds available and have spoken with our customer group at the Centre and have agreed that an iPad is the best purchase. We have actively raised enough funds to be able to purchase new equipment. Having the kit loaned to us meant that our customers could try out different types of equipment to find out which one best met their individual needs.”

“This has supported individuals to choose and develop their individual lifestyles to lead independent lives, with tasks such as shopping and banking, benefit claims and research, to achieve accreditation of training.”

‘TP’ is a gentleman in his mid-40s, supported by Scope Cwmbran, who is currently looking to move independently, into his own home. He has used the loaned kit to great personal gain. Having the different types of equipment at his disposal has meant that TP and staff are able to sit in quiet areas around the Centre and search for voluntary employment. Without use of the equipment it would have been a less personal experience on the journey that TP is currently on. TP says “I’m looking forward to being in charge of the things I want to do, and using the equipment has meant that I’m able to search for things to meet my needs”.