Vulnerable adults supported by a Stoke-on-Trent charity are set to be educated on how to communicate online thanks to National Lottery funding of just shy of £40,000.
Helping Angels Charitable Association – which supports vulnerable adults, children and their families – is recruiting for a digital inclusion worker to help the adults whom they support to learn how to use iPads and the internet.
After the pandemic hit, the charity quickly recognised the majority of their adults were totally isolated in their homes and were unable to access the internet for video calls or online shopping.
But now the £39,750 from the National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media Government funding, means training sessions will be able to take place to develop much needed skills.
“It’s been a really tough time for us, as it has for a lot of charities, so we cannot thank the National Lottery enough for awarding us with this funding,” said charity manager Natasha Gratton.
“A lot of the adults which we support have really struggled throughout the pandemic, especially when we were unable to continue with our independent activities in the community as the centres had to close during the first lockdown.
“Using things like FaceTime to speak to family and friends just did not happen as they did not know how to access anything like that. Even shopping online was impossible, but now we are going to be able to teach them how to make more use of the internet so they do not feel so isolated when at home.
“We are looking to create a support plan for each person based around their needs which could also include how to use a keyboard – there is a lot that some people cannot do and we can now start to help them more.”
During the first lockdown the charities staff delivered shopping, provided vital food parcels, hygiene packs and cleaning products as well as doing emotional wellbeing phone calls, check ups and virtual coffee mornings and classes.
And in June, Helping Angels also took the decision to move into their new home at Hanley Lodge, in Hanley Park – a move which was initially anticipated for later in the year.
Natasha continued: “We sped up our move into Hanley Lodge as we wanted to ensure we could continue to provide support to our adults under extreme circumstances and our lodge is remaining open as we move through the second lockdown.
“We are providing emotional well-being support in line with Covid safe government guidelines.”
The National Lottery funding also means the charity will be introducing a Covid-19 support worker to assist people that have been isolated and fundraising events are planned for the rest of the year.
“Charities have been hit really hard by not being able to do usual fundraising,” added Natasha.
“We really appreciate everyone who has supported us so far and we are trying new things online. We are planning a virtual Christmas market and other online events too which can be found on our Facebook page.”
You can keep up to date with Helping Angels on their Facebook page.