Relaunching our Tea and Tech social events at the Upper Norwood Library Hub, last week, felt like a landmark for us.

Not only was this a celebration for all the learners who have accessed our classes or support during lockdown, a good opportunity to meet some of the new faces but also helped us define our voice as an impartial guide to accessing important digital services for those at the beginning of that journey.

It was also a day of new partnerships as we had contribution from Lambeth Healthwatch and were signposted by the Lambeth Wellbeing Bus, as well as being an opportunity for a community organization to help pave the way for in-person events again.

Our Tea and Tech format combines talks and discussion about a key and topical subject, wellbeing messages from our learners as well as some individual support from a volunteer.

Given its namesake, Tea (and cakes and snacks) clearly features prominently!

The other side of the pandemic it felt natural for us to focus on ‘How to find our GP website’ from out phone or the internet. Without confidence in this fundamental skill it feels difficult to expect people to then sign up to other more sophisticated services requiring access to personal data.

We frame our learners’ initial journey on the internet within getting crucial and important information in a way that may be more convenient. For many this seems like given but for us it is the primary pillar of using the internet.

Our second subject was a ‘peek underneath the bonnet’ of the NHS App: what it is, how it compares to the Covid -19 Test and Trace & Patient Access apps as well as how to get it. We also covered how to register and touched upon the safety of data within the app and how you can opt in and out of data sharing.

The key message here was that people can and should choose what is right for them, when it is right for them. Choose what is useful and what you are comfortable using. Our aim is to help people make this decision for themselves or at least see that when they are ready, they can.

We wrapped up with some examples of scams relating to Covid 19, testing and vaccinations – just to help us all be more vigilant

We had special guests Anna d’Agostino from Lambeth Healthwatch and Wai-Ha Lam from the Lambeth Clinical Effectiveness Group informing the learners how to have their say about GP services as well as how to access a new digital buddy program within the Lambeth GP Network.

Anna is a long-term friend for many of our learners who benefitted from the work she did either within the Croydon BME Forum or as dementia friend. Long may this continue.

Lastly and definitely not least we had voices from our learners. Elsie Sutherland shared a few words on how she has felt connected and built confidence through being online during the pandemic and Lynn Thomas extended this by leading the group with Jamaican welcome song after the break.

32 learners attended the event, our second largest to date and we had help from 8 staff and volunteers –  a demonstration of the appetite for social activity again within a shielded group.

We will be running versions of this event in different venues over the next few months but there is always something special about these at the Upper Norwood Library Hub – our ‘spiritual home’.

Watch this space for the next one

This Tea and Tech was funded with the support of the Lambeth Wellbeing Fund.

 


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