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Age UK Sheppey embracing technology with online sessions to tackle loneliness and isolation

Age UK Sheppey members who have been stuck at home for months will have the chance to join virtual groups.

The charity’s day centres in Trinity Road, Sheerness, and Mustards Road, Leysdown, were shut on March 17 a few days before government introduced lockdown to tackle coronavirus.

Free online sessions are being held over Zoom. Picture: Age UK Sheppey
Free online sessions are being held over Zoom. Picture: Age UK Sheppey

Since then bosses have been working out how they could halt the further daily spread of loneliness and isolation.

This month saw the introduction of the virtual sessions which are held over the video conferencing service, Zoom, and can host up to eight people.

The charity is looking for funding to pay for the 20 iPads and SIM cards it has already bought to help disadvantaged clients get online.

It is also appealing to businesses for cash to fund laptops for staff to use to host the variety of sessions that will be available.

Chief officer, Kerry Moore, said: “It is so important for people to stay connected during these unprecedented times and we are becoming aware local residents are becoming more isolated and lonely as the days and weeks go on.

Age UK Sheppey's chief officer, Kerry Moore. Picture: Age UK
Age UK Sheppey's chief officer, Kerry Moore. Picture: Age UK

“Many people on Sheppey are not privileged to have the family support network on their doorsteps.

“That means they are becoming more reliant on charities and local organisations, such as Age UK Sheppey, to assist them with basic needs including meals, essential domestic duties, shopping and collecting prescriptions.

“The demand on our services dramatically increased when Covid-19 took hold and many people referring in to us were unknown to us previously."

The sessions are being offered as an alternative to reopening centres.

Dementia clubs, one-to-one virtual welfare calls and support groups including coffee mornings for members and get togethers for families are planned.

Armchair exercises will also be part of the scheme, to keep people mobile.

Miss Moore added: “We felt this project to be so important to get up and running, and didn’t want to delay things by looking for suitable funding opportunities.

“However, with the expectation of increased demand, we are looking to gain the support of local businesses willing to sponsor or donate equipment.”

To find out more, call 01795 662562.

Read more: All the latest news from Sheppey

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