In Coronavirus Funding Impact Stories, Impact Stories, Reducing isolation & disadvantage

Project: Purchasing tablets and Chromecasts so that elderly residents can connect with family and take part in interactive activities during the lockdown
Grant: £4,940
Fund: NET Coronavirus Appeal (more info)

Lockdown life has had its challenges for all of us. Not being able to see loved ones and have a much-needed hug is difficult, which is why so many of us are relying on video calls to connect with the people we care about.

For the residents at The Fremantle Trust’s care homes, it has been no different. Only, without the technology and the know-how to use it, elderly and disabled residents have been feeling the loss of contact more than some.

With a £4,940 grant from the NET Coronavirus Appeal, The Fremantle Trust have been able to bridge this gap and connect their residents to their loved ones. They purchased a total of 41 tablets and 41 Google Chromecasts to keep residents in contact with their families through video calls, with team members on hand to teach residents how to use Skype and messaging apps so that they can send pictures and messages.

“I can’t believe I’ve just be able to see and speak to my grandson, it’s amazing. You have all made me so happy. It’s just wonderful”.

– 98 year old Jessie Fuller who lives in Icknield Court Princes Risborough, having just spoken to her grandson Mark who lives in Australia.

Not only that, but the new technology has brought residents together in interactive activities. With the Chromecasts enabling residents to connect their own devices to the main TV, they have been able to watch their personalised YouTube playlists and even play games on a bigger, more accessible screen. Chair exercise videos and Zumba work outs have also been cast to the bigger TV screens, bringing residents a temporary substitute for the usual fitness instructors who visit the homes.

“I can’t begin to tell you what a difference the grant has made to our services”, said Sue Faulkner, Community and Lifestyle Manager at The Fremantle Trust. “There have been many tears of joy.

“Birthdays have been shared, sing-alongs with family members, and so much more. The Chromecasts have helped us with live bingo, quizzes, sing-alongs and personal choice videos and YouTube music… Residents and families have sent us the most wonderful feedback on how it has been being able to see and talk to their loved ones. Being able to keep families connected through this difficult time has touched so many of us – we couldn’t have done it without Heart of Bucks acting so quickly on my application”.

Sara Livadeas, the Chief Executive of The Fremantle Trust, said:

“I found it very difficult when we took the decision to close our homes and services to visitors. Having the tools available to support people to stay in touch with their friends and relatives outside the homes has made all the difference to their wellbeing and given me peace of mind. Thank you.”