Using technology to stay connected

11th Aug 2020

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Over the past few months we have tried new ways of working to ensure that our services continue to empower people to have the fullest possible lives.

An essential part of this has been using technology to make sure that the mirus community remains connected.  Whether it is people we support being connected to families, friends or health professionals, or our staff and volunteer teams being connected to each other, the organisation and local partners. It was already in our plans to develop and increase our use of technology, but Covid-19 has accelerated our plans. Thanks to feedback from our survey we have identified a number of ways that we can move forward together.

As well as funding vital Personal Protective Equipment for our staff and volunteers, the WCVA Voluntary Services Emergency Fund has helped us purchase new Tablets for some of our services in Cardiff and Gwent, many of which have now been delivered. 

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We visited Anneliese, her Keyworker sian powell‍, and Manager Helen Russo‍ at home in Cardiff just in time to see them unpacking their brand new technology that was purchased with the WCVA grant. Anneliese has grown some tomato plants that are just beginning to bear fruit, so the tablet came at a great time for Sian to snap a picture and post the positive story to our main employee Facebook group.

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The tablets will not only provide a fantastic tool for capturing positive stories from people supported, but will also enable staff to easily join virtual meetings using the built in camera, speakers, and mic. The tablets come with a keyboard, that when connected, turns the device into a touchscreen computer. David Drew‍ met with Assistant Team Manager Fred Jones at another service in Cardiff to help set up and demonstrate the new equipment. 

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We are working co-productively with lots of other organisations to increase our technology usage:

We are working with Digital Communities Wales trial a range of new technology in Cardiff, Swansea, Torfaen and Ceredigion, and to develop the technology skills of the mirus community. We ran our first digital skills sessions with support staff at the start of July supporting our staff to get online and become more confident with technology, and recently ran our first Digital Champions training for a group of people we support, volunteers and staff. 

 

Digital Champions are trained to be able to support others in the mirus community with new technology and digital inclusion. We now have 10 Digital Champions, with an ambition to increase this to 50 over the coming months. We are also working with a range of partners to purchase new IT equipment, to enable people we support and staff teams to remain connected in ways that are important to them.

 

In addition to these exciting new developments, we have received grants from the Gwent and Bridgend Associations for Voluntary Organisations to help us deliver online health, fitness and wellbeing sessions as well as to trial new smart technologies. We have also become part of the Learning Disability Wales Personalised Technology Community of Practice and see this as an important way to share learning, ideas and resources across organisations. 

 

Watch this space for future updates, as we move forward together.

 

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