John’s story

Our Digital Brighton & Hove project is all about keeping people connected and included. The need for digital inclusion has become even more critical during the Covid-19 pandemic, where many of the people who were already less likely to be online are now staying at home to slow the spread of the virus – meaning they may not be able to see friends and family as much as they used to.

The project runs a tablet loan scheme, with Digital Champion support to help people get online and stay in touch. Over the 5+ years that DBH has been in action, the team of paid staff and enthusiastic volunteers has worked closely with many groups in the city — and particularly successfully with the Older People’s Housing schemes.

We’ve recently received a story about an older man, John, who lives in warden-managed accommodation in Hove, and has discovered the joy of seeing his family via his new tablet device. Here’s John’s story, as told by his younger brother Peter.

Thank you for your ongoing support.  I thought I would give you some background as to how getting my older brother on line has completely turned his life around in this very troubling time of the pandemic.
It all started after my initial communication with Peter Huntbach (Older People’s Housing Manager). He was very helpful and informed me of the great work you were doing at Digital Brighton & Hove, and suggested I made contact with you. My brother, who is now 82, has been isolating in his warden-managed accommodation in Hove.

John is very happy there and really appreciates the support he receives from site manager Jenny and her management team.  However,  I have for some time been very concerned that he hadn’t been able to see his family since March, most of whom live in and around the London area. This includes grandchildren and great grandchildren, some of whom he had never seen before.

Peter informed me that the property which John now calls home does indeed have free access to wi-fi (via Link-Free) in the communal area. He also suggested that you may be able to help provide some additional support. Following my very positive conversation with you, and your kind offer to add John to a device equipment loan waiting list so we could access the internet for him, I decided to purchase a cheap tablet device as I know the demand for the service you are offering is high.

I have now managed to connect John up to Link-Free and installed WhatsApp on his new tablet. He is absolutely delighted and very grateful. He has now been able to chat face to face with all of his loved ones. I must say that seeing John’s face light up when communicating with his family was very emotional.

John has a new lease of life now and has asked me to pass on his thanks to you and your team.

Once again thank you for all your support.
For and on behalf of John