The Irish Chaplaincy have started providing technology to elderly Irish Londoners experiencing loneliness and isolation during the ongoing crisis. The initiative is combatting loneliness but the charity need donations to help them with the cost of the equipment.
Paul Raymond, Manager of Irish Chaplaincy Seniors told The Irish World: “Under normal circumstances many of our seniors struggle with loneliness and isolation and the emotional and mental challenges that these bring.
“Technology has been crucial in helping the rest of us stay connected with family and friends that we can’t see in person, so we decided to trial it with our seniors to help expand their community of contacts.
“And the outcome has been brilliant. Initial concerns of it being too complicated or confusing have been overcome by keeping things very simple, and it has opened up a whole new world for them, which they have all been very excited about.
“People have been so missing seeing people that the fact that they can now see each other, listen to their favourite radio station in Ireland or get mass service online has just been absolutely amazing.
“People have been saying it is making them feel less isolated, making them feel more connected and lifting their spirits which is what it is all about.
“We have just been touched and thrilled at the success so far. The people we work with have underlying health conditions adn they, a lot of people, are weary about going outside again.”
Ann Mernagh, originally from Dublin, said of receiving the tablet: “It’s the nicest thing anyone has done for me. I felt so lonely during lockdown. Now I feel so connected. With this tablet, I’ve been able to see my nephew, my friends in London and even my friends in Ireland. I love listening to the Irish radio and getting Mass. I can’t thank you enough.”
Each tablet has been carefully set up to enable a simplified 3-step approach to access video and voice calls as well as online mass, other religious services or radio stations back in Ireland – depending on the requirements or preferences of the individual.
Each ‘Keeping Connected’ pack costs £250, which includes the tablet, stand, dongle and internet connectivity for 12 months. The charity hopes to raise more funds to extend the project.
Irish Chaplaincy is a leading social action charity, which was set up in 1957 to provide services and support to excluded, vulnerable and isolated Irish people in Britain including seniors, prisoners and Travellers.
Anyone interested in donating can do by clicking here.