Villagers near Skegness stay connected through pandemic thanks to digital rollout

Vulnerable residents of a village near Skegness are staying connected thanks to receiving funding to buy tablets.

Vulnerable residents in Hogsthorpe are staying connected thanks to tablets that are being distributed in the village.

Hogsthorpe Good Neighbours Scheme has teamed up with Lincs Digital to deliver the project.

The funding from Lincolnshire County Council through the Lincolnshire Community Foundation has enabled the group to buy 20 tablets to give to residents who meet certain criteria to enable them to get online.

Tablets will be set up to suit their personal needs and they will receive some individual training sessions to familiarise themselves with their device, if needed.

Further group training sessions will also be available for those requiring it. All this will be done on-line if restrictions do not allow physical meetings.

Kerry Stafford, of the group, said: "We also have funding to train five volunteers to become digital champions for the village.

"The volunteers will need some basic digital understanding but will receive free training to help other villagers get digitally connected.

"Since lockdown our community has come closer together and the community spirit has grown.

"However, there are still a lot of people living alone in the village who are isolated.

"It is hoped the project will allow these villagers and households without digital connectivity to connect with their family and friends as well as other villagers.

"This is a great opportunity to digitally connect Hogsthorpe and further build upon our community spirit."

One resident who has one of the tablets is hoping to hold a coffee morning on zoom.

Jacqui said "I was calling a couple of my phone buddies to encourage them to use zoom. The plan is to host a coffee morning on zoom in lieu of the community cafe so everyone can have a catch up before we bring their dinners to their doorsteps."

Another said: "I felt left out before. I am happy to be involved. It's something I have wanted to do for a long time

".I will feel more involved. I am grateful for the help and patience and would like to thank Kerry and her team for what they do for the villiage and myself as I never thought I would get this help."

Anyone in Hogsthorpe who may benefit from the project, or would like to become a digital champion, should contact Hogsthorpe Community Group via Facebook, call 01754 483453 or e-mail [email protected]