Assistive Technology Service, Tech Coach
The Tech Coach was a free service available to older people, carers and people with learning disabilities living in Torfaen. The service was a pilot project funded by the Welsh Government, which aimed to maximise the use of technology among the people living in Torfaen.
The service was offered as one-to-one support and group sessions, giving advice/support with:
- Identifying technology best suited to the user’s needs
- Setting up new equipment
- Using technology
The Tech coach also attended community groups and pop-up events to promote the use of technology in Torfaen.
It used various technologies: some were provided through the Assistive Technology service whilst others were purchased on a private basis by participants in the project.
- Combat loneliness and social isolation by teaching residents how to use new SMART technologies in the home.
- Improve people's confidence using laptops, tablets, smart phones, SMART technology (Alexa, Google Home)
- Improve quality of life and increase participants’ sense of wellbeing.
- Ensure residents can live more independently within their home environment and enable greater independence.
- Welsh Government
- Torfaen Health and Social Care Services
By August 2020, the Tech Coach service had supported 36 people to get online; chat online; listen to music; send emails; set up Alexa devices; change phone and broadband provider; watch catch up TV; study the Bible; send a text; amongst other things.
In October 2019, the Tech Coach service was publicly announced and an officer was advertised as available to attend individuals wishing to take part in the project.
An early challenge was found in attempting to recruit people to post in order to carry through the project. Recruitment was finalised and posts filled in July 2019.
The project successfully enabled a number of people, particularly those who were older and less familiar with SMART technology, to use them. Feedback from the participants was widely positive.
Executive Member for Adult Services and Housing, Cllr David Daniels said,
“The Tech Coach is a fantastic service which offers the people of Torfaen the chance to become more independent through the use of technology.
As we've seen throughout the pandemic, technology can offer an alternative way to shop, get help or advice, and - most importantly throughout lockdown - can help bring us all together.
The service has been a lifeline for many residents throughout the lockdown period, where they have been able to access over the phone and online support to help them access essential online services and be able to contact family and friends.”
Mrs Worthington, 93, who lives in Cwmbran needed support using her tablet computer just before the lockdown period began, said,
“The service has changed my life during lockdown as I feel I am still in contact with the outside world. The Tech Coach has taught me so much in such a short space of time and it has been very beneficial. My family wonder how I know so much!”