Digital Champions enhancing support offered in Community Lounges in Stoke-on-Trent page thumbnail

Specialists in digital platforms, including laptops, tablet and mobile phones are being rolled out in community spaces across Stoke-on-Trent.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has teamed up with Midlands Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT), Wavemaker and Saltbox to offer digital support champions for residents across the city’s 18 community lounges.

Digital Champions are already making a difference to residents across Stoke-on-Trent, including Donna who was introduced to the value of smart technology in the home and given a voice-assisted smart speaker.

Where she was previously restricted to the home and relied on her elderly mother for care and support, they both have smart speakers and have regained their independence. 

Donna said: “It reminds me to take my medicines, my appointments and allows my mum to ‘drop in’ to see how I am without being here.

“It helps me with a lot of things and we call Alexa my brain. It’s given me my life back, and my mum’s.”

Neil Carr, MPFT Chief Executive said: “We’re proud to be working together with the city council, Wavemaker and Saltbox to ensure people get the skills and experience they need to help navigate an increasingly digital world.

“Digital innovation is playing a progressively greater role in how we provide care for our local communities; but we also understand our responsibility in ensuring people don’t feel left behind. Our Digital Angels are playing a fantastic role in providing this support, and we’re delighted to be rolling out their great work across the city’s community lounges.”

A Stoke-on-Trent City Council spokesperson said: “This initiative is about tackling digital inequality and improving life chances for residents and reducing hardship.

“We have listened to residents accessing the community lounges and one of the areas that needed addressing was increased support around digital devices.

“Some people, potentially elderly or due to financial boundaries are not as computer literate as others, so having direct support or advice will help them to become more empowered.”

Benedict McManus, Director & Chief Communications Officer at Wavemaker said:  “Wavemaker is committed to making digital inclusion a reality, because we believe that empowering individuals with person centred, hands-on digital skills can profoundly improve their health, enhance their quality of life, and open up new opportunities for a brighter future.

“Wavemaker is all about turning digital inclusion into something real. We think giving people practical, focused digital skills can seriously boost their health, make their lives better, and unlock new chances for a happier future.”

Digital Champions can assist with:

  • Basics on using keyboards, mouse and touch screens
  • Creating documents and email accounts
  • Using digital technology and social media
  • Safely using the internet, online forms, search engines and reading emails
  • Managing money online, finding jobs, online shopping and using public services online
  • Watching and listening when using a digital camera
  • Using mobile apps for general and specific health conditions
  • Guidance for home automation, smart homes and assistive technology for improving your health

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