About the Tech Connection Network
The current COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic is impacting all of our lives in unprecedented ways, requiring us to think differently about how we remain connected to each other whilst physically distanced.
Maintaining connection and community is especially difficult for individuals who receive support through Scotland's care services and for the workforce who are caring for them at this challenging time.
The idea for this Network started when publicist Jenn Nimmo-Smith, Director of Electric Shores, was concerned about her mum w during the coronavirus. She was able to video call with her mum, who lives in a care home, on an iPad but was aware that not all residents would have the facilities to do this so she reached out to Scottish Care. While social care workers are doing what they can to maintain connections, we want to help them to ensure that more families and loved ones can stay connected.
That is why we want to use this network to support increased technological access for those receiving care here in Scotland who are experiencing significantly reduced physical contact and social engagement as a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic, not least those living in care homes.
Whilst some care services and individuals will already have access to some technological devices such as iPads, smartphones and laptops, the current restrictions around visiting and social contact mean that there is an urgent need to extend this access to more people on a more regular basis, which existing equipment is unlikely to be able to support the scale of.
We are therefore inviting businesses, organisations and individuals with spare technological devices to donate them to care services. All you have to do is get in touch and tell us what you are able to donate. We'll then connect you with care services who would benefit from receiving these and jointly we will arrange delivery/collection.
This could have significant benefits for mental wellbeing, reducing distress and maintaining connections with loved ones for a vulnerable population and those supporting them. This opportunity represents a meaningful way to connect our communities, hopefully with long term positive outcomes.
What we're looking for
Any device which can be used to enable social connection e.g. through apps and internet connection. This includes tablets, laptops, smart TVs and larger models of smartphones.
For security and safety reasons, devices should ideally be in new/unused condition or have been minimally used. Devices should be donated with any required accompaniments e.g. chargers or remotes.
To protect people's privacy, donated devices should be cleared of any personal information/data and protected against malware.
Can I lend rather than donate?
Ideally, we'd be looking for devices to be donated to services at this time. However, we may be able to help with the loaning of devices in certain circumstances - please get in touch with us to discuss this.
Is it safe to donate?
We ask all donors to follow current infection control and hygiene guidance to ensure that donated devices are, as far as possible, clean and safe. We will also liaise with donors and recipients around the safest way to collect or deliver devices.
How will my donation be used?
Any donated device should be used for the sole purpose of improving the wellbeing of individuals receiving support. We will be asking people to use the hashtag #TechConnectCare on social media to share the ways in which devices are making a difference to their service!
Receiving donated devices:
Who can apply
Care home, care at home and housing support services registered with the Care Inspectorate can apply to receive devices for the people they support.
What you need
Services will need:
a stable/secure wifi connection
staff who are willing and able to set up devices and support their safe use
to follow legal requirements around health and safety. Comprehensive safety checks apply the same as to all other electrical equipment being used. It is the organisation’s responsibility to do their own safety checks and maintenance.
Supporting engagement and connection
We've developed a hints and tips guide with some suggestions of how you can use technology and devices to support others at this time. It includes links to some basic how-to guides for anyone less familiar with using technology as well as Apps and initiatives that enable connection.
How will devices be distributed between services?
Devices will be allocated based on numbers, geographical location of donations and recipients, and need. We will try to do this as fairly as possible, bearing in mind what is practicable within current national restrictions on movement.
Is it safe to receive devices?
All care services should be following current infection control guidance relating to Coronavirus. This includes guidance on materials entering the home and operating isolation periods for such items. Smartphone cleaning kits can support good hygiene practice and are being offered for free by some organisations.
How should we use donated devices?
Any donated device should be used for the sole purpose of improving the wellbeing of individuals receiving support. We will be asking people to use the hashtag #TechConnectCare on social media to share the ways in which devices are making a different to their service!