Staying Connected During a Global Pandemic
Around the world, individuals, organisations, schools, companies, and even families have had to find new ways of staying connected throughout the global pandemic.
And while some reverted to traditional ways of reaching out to each other, in the form of letters and regular calls, others have employed the use of innovative new technology to stay connected - not just to each other but to future opportunities.
But with every major step in this technology-reliant modern world, we become ever more disconnected from those who have no access to computers. Their disadvantage renders them way behind before they have even begun.
That’s why, here at Computer Aid, we are proud to support the work of the St Giles Trust. And here’s how.
Who is the St Giles Trust?
The St Giles Trust is a social justice charity that helps people who are being held back by poverty, abuse, addiction, imprisonment, and mental health challenges. They work to show people how to build a better future through support, advice, training, and - above all - access to the tools they need to achieve all of this.
Over the last 20 years, they have developed a successful peer support system where people who have overcome difficult situations can volunteer and work in advice and guidance roles - passing on their own experiences and knowledge to those in need.
The St Giles Trust believes that everyone with a past, also has a future. Some just need a little help to access and bring it to life.
How has Computer Aid supported the St Giles Trust during the pandemic?
When the pandemic hit, caseworkers at the St Giles Trust were cut off from their clients and connections - stuck at home with no ways of communicating and providing support to those in need.
The only way forward was to engage the support of technology - but that meant a big grant was needed for the trust to be able to supply each client with a laptop for communication and connection.
The first step was to earn and be awarded the support of the National Lottery fund. With this funding, the pipe dream for remote connection became a reality, with equipment quickly brought in to facilitate training and enable a consistent communication platform between caseworkers, clients, and peers.
And it wasn’t just the National Lottery that was able to help.
Computer Aid also stepped in during this time to distribute equipment to St Giles Trust - minimising the need to spend their grant on technical equipment and thus allowing them to redirect funds to other areas of their crucial work.
As part of a long-term commitment, this support from Computer Aid was provided not just during the pandemic but on a long-term basis, keeping everyone connected regardless of their situation or position.
Throughout 2020 and 2021, Computer Aid distributed 101 devices to the St Giles Trust.
In 2021, 50% of the people helped by the St Giles Trust achieved qualifications, and 20% obtained stable employment.
In 2022, the St Giles Trust team has already secured a further 64 laptops to continue to keep the organisation and its clients connected and supported.
The pandemic may be all but over, but the work continues.
The St Giles Trust team has decided that a portion of the budget attributed to each client should be spent on the necessary equipment that will keep them connected. This includes equipment itself and the training on how to use it, as well as workshops and activities to support use and engagement.
Here are a few words from one of the individuals who received a laptop at a time when he needed the support of the St Giles Trust most.
“Following time in prison, I found that I lacked the on-paper skills and qualifications needed to further my career. Before I was put in prison I worked in the construction industry, and so being gifted a laptop by the St Giles Trust allows me to complete a 3-week CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) course which I needed to apply for Assistant Site Manager roles.
Thanks to the belief and support of the St Giles Trust, and the work of organisations like Computer Aid, I was able to secure employment and a full-time position with a local company.”