#GoodNewsStory: Local social enterprise ClearCommunityWeb has helped over 100 vulnerable people stay in touch with friends and family during lockdown.
ClearCommunityWeb is a social enterprise providing digital skills training, advice and support services in South East London. They work with community groups, older people, vulnerable adults and carers to overcome their fears and anxieties of technology, so they can live active independent lives.
Caspar Kennerdale, ClearCommunityWeb Director, explains, “We create a non-pressured environment where no question is too basic and we all learn together.
“If we don’t know the answer to a question, then we find out together. This empowers people to find the information for themselves and help others.”
ClearCommunityWeb's response to the Covid-19 crisis has been rapid. They work with many vulnerable adults, in isolation and feeling marginalised from the rest of society. Before the lockdown, the team explained to them how they would provide remote support. Listening to their concerns, they ran introductory online shopping classes at Upper Norwood Library Hub in Crystal Palace.
Since lockdown the team have facilitated virtual group classes. This has given people the opportunity to see familiar faces, share positive stories and be part of a community. Every class is structured around local activities, and it’s been reassuring for people to see shops open and services available amid the overwhelming media reports.
The “Digital Skills for Seniors” classes have allowed participants to progress, develop their skills and learn from each other. Every week the team share a new video or website they’ve found. So far, they've explored cooking recipes, local history and VE Day celebrations.
ClearCommunityWeb also run classes on how to use Zoom for older people and beginners, but also those looking to facilitate larger meetings. They’re very hands on sessions. Caspar explains, “you get to play with all the knobs and buttons without fear of making a mistake”.
The need is enormous
The intensity of this crisis has seen a dramatic increase in the need for our services. ClearCommunityWeb provide one-to-one support in partnership with local community groups and charities. This ensures vulnerable adults in isolation can speak to their care and support workers online.
Working on a local level has helped them reach more people. Distributing posters in the area and working closely with other organisations has been a key part of this process, making referrals and signposting people to other services.
Safeguarding vulnerable people online is paramount. Security, privacy and safety has always been critical part of the work. All staff and volunteers are DBS checked, follow strict safeguarding policies and procedures to protect their service users from harm.
Caspar explains, “We’ll need to learn to trust people again. We need to interact in an honest way as we become more reliant on the internet and each other.”
ClearCommunityWeb has been working hard to expand their reach across the boroughs, with new projects and classes that meet the growing needs of the people they serve.
Currently, they're looking into sourcing donations of equipment and preparing for in-person services post-lockdown, keeping everyone connected during this crisis and beyond.
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