East Suffolk Council has started trialling a new scheme which helps reconnect older residents who are vulnerable due to social isolation.
The East Suffolk Grandpad Loan Scheme is aimed at tackling social isolation amongst mainly older residents who have little or no contact with loved ones or the outside world due to a lack of Wi-Fi, equipment and/or skills.
Grandpads have been specifically designed around the need of older adults, and the large buttons and intuitive interface make it easy for older people to use the device to connect with loved ones and the outside world without the complicated features of other tablets.
Initially, the Council will trial the scheme over a period of 12 months, by lending 24 Grandpads (free of charge) to older residents across the District who have been identified as being socially isolated. The devices will include unlimited 4G internet, 24/7 personalised support and unlimited minutes, so users can easily make phone calls at no extra costs.
Once the trial period ends, East Suffolk Council will evaluate and determine its success and whether residents will benefit from the scheme being rolled out across the District if additional funding can be secured.
Cllr Letitia Smith, East Suffolk’s Cabinet Member for Communities, Leisure and Tourism, said: “Many older people have little or no experience with technology but that doesn’t mean they should be excluded from the many benefits it can offer, such as keeping connected with loved ones, accessing health services and online shopping.”
Cllr Stephen Burroughes, East Suffolk’s Cabinet Member for Customer Services and Operational Partnerships with responsibility for Digital Transformation, said: “This scheme enables users to do a whole range of things online safe in the knowledge that the device can be trusted and that only trusted contacts can communicate with them. The Grandpads could open up a whole new world of opportunities to people that have them”