During ALL DIGITAL Weeks we are spotlighting the work of some of our DigiKnow partners. The Prevention Alliance (TPA), one of the founding partners of DigiKnow, has delivered Stockport Support Hub and Your Support since April 2022. Siobhan Myers is Team Manager for Your Support.
In our earlier blog, we talked about the creation of Stockport Support Hub, which brings together a range of support services in Stockport, offering adults and families the early advice and support they need to help them live independently and well.
I lead a team of Key Workers at Your Support, providing one-to-one support with practical issues, such as housing, finances, employment, and skills, improving physical health and mental well-being and help with digital skills. We encourage everyone we support to get online. Over the last twelve months we provided digital advice to 372 people over 789 appointments.
The people we work with have varied backgrounds and experience a range of challenges. In many instances, we help them to improve some aspect of their lives by improving their digital skills and accessing the internet. Our digital support offer is diverse, for example, supporting people to manage their Universal Credit online, online shopping, connecting with friends and family (via social media or video calls) or using Apps that support their well-being.
Being able to use online banking has given me more independence and control. Before I would have to ask someone to get money out for me. Now I can just transfer it to their bank account – it’s so much safer.
We are proud to be part of Stockport’s Digital Inclusion Alliance, and we also encourage the people we support to access DigiKnow digital help and support. Our colleagues at Starting Point provided DigiKnow Friends training to all our workforce and our Key Workers signpost and accompany people to their digital sessions, lending library and databank.
DigiKnow has been a lifesaver for people, especially with the current cost of living crisis. Being able to signpost people to sessions and being equipped and knowing up to date information on things like low-cost tariffs is invaluable to us.
Mat, Key Worker, Your Support
I’d like to share a couple of examples with you that show just how big a difference digital can make. The names have been changed, but the stories are real.
John is partially sighted and had a large tablet and projector to use the internet. Unfortunately, these items were stolen. When John moved home, he found himself unable to set up benefits or his utilities. He was unable to access the internet on his smartphone because it was too small. He had to wait for his housing provider to send someone out to help.
It was so frustrating; I was sat in the cold because I couldn’t see. It’s important I feel independent and know I can do things for myself. I couldn’t have done that without the tablet and the support from my Key Worker.
After getting in touch with Your Support, John and his Key Worker explored a range of tablets and ordered the tablet he used to have online. Together, John and his Key Worker set up large fonts and icons and installed apps on the home screen so John could access them independently.
Being online has helped John regain his independence. John has since set up online banking. His Key Worker helped him to save his card details so that he no longer relies on someone reading them to him. John now shops online and uses the British Gas app to top up his meters.
I had to ask people to help me. They didn’t always have time, and I felt like a burden. I wanted to do things for myself, but I just couldn’t. When I had to top up my electric at the shop, I was scared I was going to fall, and if my pain was bad, I just couldn’t get there, so I would be cold and have no TV.
John, Service user
Following a road traffic accident which had resulted in severe injuries, Sophie was referred to Your Support by an Advanced Nurse Practitioner. She was confined to her bed with carers visiting 4 times a day. Since the accident, she had been unable to deal with bills and paperwork and needed support to get rid of a car she was financing before the accident. She felt upset and frustrated that she had let her paperwork get on top of her.
Sophie has limited eyesight so struggled doing anything online. Her Keyworker showed her how to increase the font size on her phone which she describes as a ‘godsend’. Through working with Your Support, Sophie was able to take control of her finances, develop new digital skills and has ongoing support in place to help her live more independently.
Sophie’s Key Worker met with her each week and together they worked through the paperwork and set up direct debits for her utility bills. We supported Sophie to contact the AA so they could get the car battery running, the car could be returned to the finance company and the car insurance cancelled.
We helped her to set up eBay and Amazon accounts on her phone and she was able to access a tablet via Age UK Stockport which she uses to download books. Sophie’s Key Worker helped her to access online banking so she can track her incomings and outgoings which Sophie says has been “such a relief”.
She wanted to set up a will, so her Key Worker helped her to contact legal services who arranged a home visit to complete this. And we arranged for ongoing support from Tandem with shopping and light cleaning, as well as help to read and respond to mail.
It’s been brilliant. It’s made me feel less stressed and more in control. My Key Worker went at my pace. She wasn’t just interested in what I needed to get done. She asked about my life and my jobs; she was interested in me. If you are thinking of contacting Your Support, you couldn’t do better. My Key Worker was brilliant, professional, understanding and has helped me get control of things.
Sophie, Service user
Contacting Your Support
We evolved our support offer in response to the pandemic, and we continue to offer a blended approach of face-to-face meetings in your home or in the community, as well as telephone or video call appointments. The people we support have fed back that they appreciate the flexibility, and we can now engage with more people. This is particularly important for people who have anxiety or whose living situations mean home visits aren’t convenient.
I was in a difficult relationship and my partner worked from home. I didn’t want him to know I was accessing support. Being able to have video calls with my Keyworker when he went out was incredibly useful for me.
We are open from 8:30am – 5pm, Monday to Friday. We can also offer flexible appointments outside these hours. If you want to refer someone to Your Support, call 0161 474 1042 or complete the Stockport Support Hub online referral form.
If you want to get involved with DigiKnow, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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