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Using technology to tackle isolation amongst housebound people in Llangefni

The Asset Co-ordination project in Llangefni supports people who are housebound due to illness and/or mobility issues. Project volunteers helped these people to get online, giving them more independence, reducing loneliness, saving them money and providing them with access to services.

The Asset Co-ordination project in Llangefni supports people who are housebound, for mental or physical reasons, so they can live longer in their own homes. A network of volunteers donate their time and skills to help with household tasks such as doing shopping, admin or just providing company.

The project’s coordinator, Sheree Elsworth, recognised that loneliness and isolation was a big issue for her clients. Many of them were not online and were highly dependent on the volunteers to find information for them and carry out basic household tasks. She also recognised that this was putting pressure on the volunteers, who didn’t always have the capacity to meet demand. So she approached DCW to find out whether technology could be used to improve the service.

Digital Communities Wales ran a digital champions course for three of the volunteers and Sheree herself. They learnt how to help someone get online and use the internet safely.

The training has had plenty of positive outcomes. The volunteers are now confident showing people how to use the internet. They’re encouraging their clients to look for information online themselves and empowering them to carry out tasks on the internet. One of the volunteers was so inspired that she’s looking for further opportunities to increase her digital inclusion skills.

The clients who’ve been helped are more independent than before and less reliant on the volunteers. This has increased the capacity of the service, freeing up volunteer time to help more people.

Loneliness has fallen amongst some of Llangefni’s most isolated residents, because they can keep in touch with friends and family using email and social media. Sheree is investigating ways for people who are housebound to join support groups using video chat.

The clients have been able to find information for themselves online, as well as being able to connect to services, increasing their well-being and independence. Being online has also helped some of the clients save money, as they’re able to look for better offers on goods and services.