Success stories from our Tech Lending Scheme
Angie* and Kamil* have been able to make positive changes to their lives and gain further independence thanks to receiving a tablet from the Tech Lending Scheme
Last year, we happily revealed that we were working in partnership with Hubbub and Virgin Media O2 to lend tablet devices to people we work with across Thames Reach. Recipients, many of whom are in hostels and temporary and emergency accommodation, have access to the device, apps and six months of free calls and data, thanks to the partnership.
Managed by the Essentials Skills team at Thames Reach, there has been a hugely positive response from the scheme, which is currently in its pilot stage. Angie* and Kamil* have both received a tablet on the Tech Lending Scheme, and are gaining further independence.
Angie is in her fifties and a resident at one of Thames Reach’s hostels. She has a history of mental health support needs and drug use, both of which she has been receiving support for during her time in the hostel. Back in September 2022, she received a tablet from the Tech Lending Scheme, and said she intended to use the device for music and games. Angie is a big character, and a prominent figure within the hostel, and has proven to be a big advocate of the Tech Lending Scheme, role-modelling positive behaviour and results to other residents. Staff have remarked how peer-to-peer advice is often the most powerful intervention, and resonates with Angie’s fellow residents. She has used her own tablet to help cope with difficult periods of mental health, describing listening to music via the device as a coping strategy. When contacted by Tech Lending Hub staff for feedback, she said, “I’m loving it. I use it 24/7. I’m really grateful for the opportunity to have one.”
Kamil is a Polish national in his forties who has been residing at our night shelter since early October 2022. He has limited English language proficiency, and a history of physical ill health. He was loaned a device by Thames Reach within his first week of moving into the shelter, and immediately started using it to make positive progress, including attending an online ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classes twice a week. He uses his tablet to complete online homework set by his ESOL tutor, as well as additional study outside of class, which will contribute to future independence. When Kamil needed to visit hospital at the end of October, he was able to use the Voice-to-Text Google Translate feature on his tablet to liaise with doctors about the problem he was experiencing, allowing him to receive the right treatment. Staff at the shelter have remarked that Kamil has been using the tablet to provide peer support to other residents, hoping to embed digital skills for others who have received tablets through the Tech Lending Scheme.
*names have been changed for confidentiality purposes