“It's the nicest thing anyone has done for me. I felt so lonely during lockdown. Now I feel so connected”.
So said Ann, who is supported by the Irish Chaplaincy Seniors Project and who is one of the first recipients of a pre-programmed Tablet, via their ‘Keeping Connected’ project. Rory, one of the Seniors team, explained: “Ann really loved it. I called over to her yesterday to see if she was getting on OK with it. She was there listening to LMFM, her favourite (Drogheda-based) radio station. She was thrilled with it.” Ann went on to say, “With this tablet, I've been able to see my nephew, my friends in London and even my friends in Ireland. I love listening to the Irish radio and getting Mass. I can’t thank you enough.”
The Irish Chaplaincy has been delivering Tablets, dongles and Giffgaff-activated SIM cards to elderly Irish all over London, and the Tablets have been programmed specially for each person, and for easy, three-step use. There is also an option for one of the team to give remote help to the holder of the Tablet, and easy to follow instructions are provided.
The first recipient of a ‘keeping connected’ pack was 89-year-old Mamie who has been supported by the Chaplaincy for many years. "I'm so excited to try this out" said Mamie when the Tablet came out of the box.
"I can now speak to you all face to face at the Chaplaincy and plan to speak to my sister (who lives in Galway) for her 100th birthday." Mamie has also now joined Facebook. And Ann (who, like most of those receiving Tablets, had never used a computer before) is getting on well with it and said it's the best gift she's ever had and can't believe she's got it!
The Irish Chaplaincy team are delighted that people like Ann and Mamie are seeing the possibilities that this technology can offer. They hope to find the funds to supply many more people with Tablets, and are confident that their ‘Keeping Connected’ project will last well beyond the lockdown.