Mental health charity Gofal is helping its users find health information online
Staff at South Wales charity Gofal took part in digital inclusion training run by DCW and borrowed digital equipment from the project. They can now confidently help people who come to their support groups to use the equipment and find information online.
Gofal is a mental health and wellbeing charity which supports the independence, recovery and wellbeing of people with mental health problems. From its Oakdale base in Caerphilly, the Pathways to Employment project assists people to gain or retain employment, access education and vocational opportunities, or re-discover skills and abilities that they may have lost.
Basic digital skills are key to being able to do these things and also help people maintain their independence and wellbeing.
DCW delivered training to six members of Gofal staff, showing them how to support people to get online.
Gofal also borrowed tablets and a laptop which people could use at drop-in sessions or whenever they came into the office for support.
To demonstrate their commitment to helping their clients, staff from the Pathways to Employment project signed the Digital Inclusion Charter and are now embedding digital inclusion into all their activities.
The tablets and laptop loaned to Gofal have been invaluable. Many clients don’t have access to a computer at home and don’t have the confidence to use a computer at a library. They know they can come to Gofal and get access to the internet in a familiar, supportive environment, with help from trained staff.
Andrew is a regular visitor to one of the support groups. He said, “I use the computers to apply for jobs and to check my emails for responses to my job applications.” He is a keen gardener and he also uses the equipment to browse seed catalogues and research the best time to plant seeds.
Andrew has also used the internet to research the medication he was taking. “I was on a particular medication for a long time. After a while the medication seemed to become less effective, so I used the equipment to Google my medication and found that it was common for its effectiveness to wear off over time. I then visited my GP who changed my medication, which really helped me.”
Peter uses the tablet devices to apply for benefits and to search for information. Peter said, “I have also used it to look at the calories in foods.”
Julie is from the craft club. She uses the tablet devices to research craft materials and designs online. She commented, “The equipment has been really useful for the craft club. We use YouTube to watch craft tutorials and then we all make things together. At Christmas we made stained glass candle holders and snow globes.”