Getting online gave me independence – Sarah’s story

When the Covid-19 pandemic started, Sarah* felt very isolated. She did not have a reliable means of connecting to the internet at home. During lockdowns, this made everyday tasks like shopping, managing appointments and responding to emails very difficult. Digital Brighton and Hove loaned Sarah a tablet, provided data and offered Digital Champion support to help her get online.

Woman using tablet

‘I’m grateful to get online… It’s given me a lot of confidence, it really has’

Sarah, Brighton & Hove

The difference getting online makes

Sarah is living with anxiety and agoraphobia. She was referred to Citizens Online for help getting online by council services. She says having the tablet and being able to access the internet at home has made a big difference to her life.

‘It’s given me a lot of confidence, it really has. I’ve loved listening to audio books, it’s been teaching me DIY, lots of really beneficial things.’

Support to build confidence and digital skills

Digital Champion, Anna Dolphin, delivered the tablet along with printed information guides on how to use it. She also gave over the phone support to help Sarah get connected. Sarah has been building her confidence and skills using the tablet ever since.

‘The printouts and Anna’s support have been really helpful. I’ve learned a lot. Sometimes it’s a bit scary but you just need patience. I like to learn.’

Image showing tablets like the one which Sarah used to get online
Some of information and tablet devices like the one Sarah loaned from Digital Brighton & Hove

Sarah has used the tablet for hobbies and creativity as well as everyday tasks.

‘I’ve used it for things like art, games. I’ve been writing little poems and journals on the notebook app, even doing normal shopping online.’

Being online has wellbeing benefits

The tablet has helped Sarah to manage the mental health challenges she faces and access services offering support.

‘It’s quite therapeutic. I’ve got an app called Calm which I use, it’s a complete distraction. I use it to help with meditation. I’ve been offered an online group therapy course and I’m hoping to use the tablet to access that too.’

Sarah wanted to share her story to inspire other people to get online.

‘I’m grateful to get online. It has given me independence. Regardless of the pandemic I still get anxiety and this has really helped. I would recommend it to anybody who thinks they can’t get through their anxiety to give it a go.’

How to get involved

To find out more about our Digital Brighton and Hove project, please see the website here or contact DigitalBH@citizensonline.org.uk

Anyone needing help to get started using technology or building confidence to do more online can call our free digital support helpline on 0808 196 5883.

*Names have been changed to maintain confidentiality