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New campaign launched in Derry to keep elderly people connected through technology

Appeal issued for donations of iPads

New campaign launched in Derry to keep elderly people connected through technology

A new campaign has been launched in Derry to use technology to keep people connected during the pandemic.

The ‘Let’s Get All Generations Connected’ campaign involves local community groups and churches.

They are asking people to donate new or used iPads which will given to older people in the community.

They will shown how to use the devices and this will help them to keep in contact with their family and friends.

Pat Carlin, the Families Connect Coordinator at Greater Shantallow Area Partnership (GSAP), which is co-ordinating the campaign, said the pandemic had created 'dreadful loneliness' for many people.

“Older people, perhaps more than any other section of our society, have felt the impact of this,” she said.

“Enforced disconnection from family and friends is of course known to severely impede upon mental health.

“But, with the use of modern technology, the loneliness caused by a prolonged lack of human contact can be greatly alleviated.

“While actual human interaction is of course heavily restricted at the moment, it does not mean that we cannot connect virtually.

“It is for this reason, that GSAP are launching the “Let’s Get All Generations Connected Campaign”, in partnership with many local churches and are seeking used or new iPads or monetary donations to be left with local churches in a bid to help reconnect our older people.

She said that once the churches have gathered the iPads, GSAP will allocate the materials to those who need them.

“We will contact our church and community partners across the city to ask for the names of older residents, who they believe would benefit most from the campaign.”

“At the point of delivery, we will then allocate church and community volunteers to help set up the equipment,” added the local community worker.

“We will also help reassure any recipient that the helpers will fully abide by government guidance on social distancing and will use PPE on their visits, to avoid any undue anxiety or stress about that issue.

“These volunteers will also be able to arrange for follow-up visits, through GSAP, to make sure that any ongoing assistance will be available on the use of the iPads, so that the links to family and friends and their spiritual community continues.”

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