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Contributed by
Seaview

Overview

Seaview is a charity that delivers a range of support services to help marginalised people with addiction problems, mental health issues, ex- and at-risk offenders, and rough sleepers achieve personal growth and fulfilment.

At the beginning of 2021, the charity delivered welfare checks to service users and realised that many of them were feeling deprived of communication and access to important resources that they could only get online.

The organisation purchased Amazon tablets and distributed them to service users. As an open access wellbeing centre, Seaview was able to have a small group of service users visit the centre to learn how to use the tablets. The charity downloaded Gmail, Zoom, and other wellbeing apps for their service users and provided three practice sessions. Service users were able to keep the tablets. They were all encouraged to obtain internet access and a small budget was available to help with utility costs.

Recipe status

This recipe has been in use since March 2021.

We are not sharing this recipe as the perfect solution to a problem, but we believe Seaview’s learnings could be very useful to other organisations.

Users and needs served

  • As a service user, I need to become familiar with all things digital to access vital services
  • As a member of staff or volunteer, I need knowledge of how to best help clients access digital technology

Software and tools used

Amazon Fire 7 tablet

A 16 GB, 7” tablet that can host basic apps, and provide service users access to emails and Zoom meetings.

Cost

Amazon Fire 7 tablets are available from £49.99, or refurbished versions from £44.99.

Considerations

These tablets are simple to use and service users are able to access a plethora of other apps to enhance their lifestyle.

Zoom

Zoom is a popular online conferencing platform with video, audio, and live text chat.

Features include the ability to screen share, as well as to share links and other media during a session.

Cost

Zoom offers a range of subscriptions. The free ‘Basic’ plan allows unlimited one-to-one meetings but has a 40-minute time limit on group sessions.

There are also various options for paid plans:

Pro (£11.99/month/host) Business (£15.99/month/host) Enterprise (£15.99/month/host).

These plans contain increased options for participation and no time restrictions.

Zoom is also available at discounted charity rates through the Charity Digital Exchange programme.

More pricing options can be found here.

Considerations

Zoom is a great tool to connect with people in the virtual world.

Feedback from speakers can be problematic but you can overcome this by providing headsets to users.

Hosts need to be wary about the group size numbers as having too many people in a session can make it difficult for each person to speak for a long duration of time without being cut off by someone else.

Recipe steps

1. Invite a small group of users

Set up a personal email for the users that is used predominantly to receive resources and communications relating to their general wellbeing, health and recovery.

Set up the Zoom app on the tablet. While it is useful for users to learn how to install Zoom, you want to make the initial transition to digital easy and smooth, otherwise users can easily disengage.

2. Set some ground rules

Ensure that users understand that their information will be kept confidential.

Offer a private breakout room in the usual group Zoom sessions so that if at any time a user encounters difficult emotions, the breakout room is available with practitioners and staff to help debrief them.

3. Hold sessions for three weeks

This is a good length of time for participants to engage and learn how to use the tablet. You can let the users keep the tablet after this point, as it can encourage them to set up the internet in their own homes.

Engage users by holding sessions that are interesting for them. Here, they can learn how to use the tech at the same time as taking part in something enjoyable.

4. Continue your engagement

Keep having interactions with service users and make sure that you ask how they are finding the experience of using the technology. This helps to ensure tablets are being adequately used.

Pre-download wellbeing and resource apps onto the tablets. This means that users can quickly access support for different areas of their life and reiterates that they can use digital to easily find help.

Guidance

Be prepared before group sessions start and be patient with users. Users who require this type of service may not have had much interaction with tech or software like this before, so you should be understanding of how the user journey will impact their uptake of these tools.

Risks

Be aware of the realities of using hardware, such as charging the equipment prior to sessions or demonstrating to the users how they work.

Be aware of the sensitive issues that could crop up during sessions. Have some knowledge on each user and what could cause emotional distress.

Points of contact

For further information about this recipe, you can contact:

Maggie Hawthorne

Thanks

Many thanks to Seaview for contributing this recipe.

Licence

This recipe is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.

That means you are free to copy, redistribute, and build on the text of this recipe, but only for non-commercial purposes (if you want to use it for commercial purposes, get in touch with us at [email protected]). You must give credit to both Catalyst and Seaview and link back to this page. If you build on this recipe then you must share your version under this same licence.

Recipe published on April 30th, 2021. Last updated August 6th, 2021