Community Tech Support: a case study of a critical pandemic service
ClearCommunityWeb share their insights into promoting digital inclusion during lockdown.
ClearCommunityWeb CIC helps develop digital skills in older people, vulnerable or isolated adults and carers, primarily across Lambeth, Southwark and Croydon.
We run classes and workshops designed to help people feel more comfortable and confident with technology as well as teaching them to be safer online. We take a person-centred approach to help them to be more independent, to make better choices and access support networks and services.
At the beginning of the pandemic, we expanded our tech support service to provide virtual (Zoom) and telephone support. We also provided doorstep or home support with full PPE provision where restrictions allowed, and where services users were comfortable.
Very quickly we found we were able to reach a wide range of new people – those housebound before the pandemic and isolated adults, often with mental health, who prior to the pandemic may not have come to one of our services in a public space.
We assisted people to download and install software such as Zoom to access support networks, use council and NHS services, set up accounts (such as email and online services), troubleshoot issues, run virus checks and avoid scams. We’ve, also provided support for people to access online funerals and bereavement services.
In this case study, we look into our range of cases from March 2020 to March 2021, the barriers we faced and what we learned from them. We hope this will be useful for others looking to provide community tech support.