EMPOWERCARE: Kent Digital Ambassadors Programme

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Project description

Empowercare is a cross-border project partnering 13 organisations from across the UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands and aims to create resilient communities and empower people to use technology to keep them in work, healthy and motivated.

It is recognized that not all people in our society have access to technology or if they do have access, sometimes they do not fully understand how to make best use of technology.  If technology is improved it can improve lives and reduce social isolation. 

The project is aimed at over 65’s or people 50+ with a health condition and will combine the work of several existing and tested partner solutions from across the 2 Seas area to ensure that our ageing population are at the forefront of improved technology and better cared for within their communities

What was your aim and why?

How will this be implemented in Kent?

  • Build a team of Digital Ambassadors across Kent to deliver training in an easy to understand and simple way. The Ambassadors will form a network from the local community, including professionals, volunteers and peer mentors, to sustain the growth of digital skills. 
  • Provide training to ensure that ambassadors have confidence to deliver the training and ensure we are focussing on the individuals wants/needs. The initial pilot of the scheme will be in Folkestone, Hythe and New Romney and is expected to be rolled out by Dec 2020. 
  • Showcase relevant technologies through ‘digital hubs’ and technology ‘taster’ sessions.
  • Co-produce the project with our partners, the local workforce and individuals within our target group.
  • Keep the ESTHER philosophy (a person-centred approach to care and support) at the heart of the project, promoting a positive culture that is person-centred, open, inclusive and empowering.

What was your response to Covid-19?

The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated social isolation and highlighted existing problems facing our older population.

Digital solutions that support these situations are often unknown or are not part of a healthcare providers routine, but many are starting to be used to support older populations during the pandemic.

For example, in Kent, KARA (care phone devices in partnership with Alcove Limited) are being delivered by Kent County Council and GrandPads (tablets) are being delivered by a care provider. By providing Digital Ambassadors these, and other devices, can be fully utilised by the individual and training will ensure that these solutions are sustainable.

What is the impact and benefit for people?

The project will predominantly benefit those in Kent who are 65+ (and 50+ with a chronic health condition) that would like to increase their digital skills. We will also be working with care providers and community support teams to grow digital skills within the workforce, improving knowledge of technology and staff resilience that can be shared with clients and residents.  

Is the solution sustainable post Covid-19?

The Digital Ambassador network will be developed to become self-sustaining. We will provide access to a comprehensive resource list on digital skills and training, and an online support network will be developed to unite the Ambassadors.

How can I find out more?

Contact: empowercare@kent.gov.uk

You can also take a look at our latest newsletter here: https://bit.ly/32aFLpn

The EMPOWERCARE funded by the Interreg 2 Seas Programme (co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund).