Sports field with goal posts and houses in the distance
Digital Digital inclusion

CASE STUDY: A true silver surfer

A story from one of HMR Circles' Digital Support Service volunteers

Betty, a Rochdale Boroughwide Housing tenant, lives in an Independent Living Scheme not far from the Circle office in Rochdale. Her family is a little dispersed with her son living in Brisbane and other family members living out of town. Betty though enjoys a good social life both within the ‘Sheltered Scheme’ and does a lot outside the scheme.

To allow Betty to stay in touch with her son and other relatives, her family bought her an iPad. Betty’s grandson set the iPad up and gave her instruction on how to use it.

Unfortunately, the grandson hadn’t grasped that Betty’s knowledge of computers was very limited, never mind an iPad. So Betty had an iPad but no real idea of how to use it. Her grandson tried to help her but struggled to get across in simple terms how to work it.

She was stuck with an expensive gift, which she was desperate to use but was unable to do even the basics on.

Betty had seen that HMR Circle (external website) offered digital support and advice with technology. She rang the office and booked herself in. She came along, iPad in hand and we set about going through the very basics.

By starting at the beginning and going through at Betty’s own speed she picked it up in no time at all, it was amazing just how quickly she got to grips with it all. The greatest moment came when we looked at video calling, the reason the family had bought her the iPad.

We went through the basics, step by step, and as before Betty just took to it straight away. We eventually came to the point where she could make a call and we did some test calls to the computers in the office.

At the end Betty was confident she could use Video Calling. As one last test she decided to call her granddaughter who had been away at university for several months, but whose video calling link address had been logged into her iPad by her grandson.

Betty said “She won’t answer as she is in a lecture but I want to make sure I can call her”.

Betty went through the set up as we had taught her and then to everyone's surprise her granddaughter answered! It really was a magical moment as she chatted away with her granddaughter.

Betty was able to show she was at the Circle office and tell her how proud she was that she could now use video calling and emails, and even take photographs. She eventually finished the call and said goodbye to her granddaughter. Betty sat there for a few seconds with the biggest smile on her face and a tear running down her cheek.

It was a really moving moment for everyone, especially as Betty checked her watch and realised that in a few hours, her son would be up in Australia and she would be able to have their first face-to-face conversation in several years!

A few weeks later I saw Betty at an event and she was full of pride telling me how she now regularly has Video Calling conversations with her son and she could see her grandchildren over in Brisbane. She also told me about how she emails and even attaches photos.

Betty, a true silver surfer!

Find out more about HMR Circle's Digital Support Service

Article Published: 25/10/2023 09:37 AM