We have just completed our Get Connected Pilot to help people during Covid-19. One of our services users, Craig, received a smartphone, unlimited data and support. This is how it changed her life:
Having been in and out of prison over the last years, Craig has never had the opportunity to develop his digital skills. Up until recently, he relied on what he refers to as a ‘burner’ – a cheap, basic phone which can only be used for calls. He changed his burner regularly, and so he never had a stable number, which made getting in touch with him tricky.
Kelly, his support worker, often had to act as an in-between when people needed to get in touch with Craig, for instance, his social worker and his lawyer. But everything has changed since Craig received his smartphone through the Get Connected Pilot. He is now able to receive these calls himself, which is making a huge difference.
Kelly explained: ‘It used to be so hard to get hold of Craig, as his number changed all the time, and I was having to speak to social work, and then track Craig down so he could use my phone to call them. But it’s all different now. He’s speaking to them himself, and he contacts me regularly. I get a wee text every day, with Craig just checking in and saying hello. It’s amazing.’
Craig is also using the phone to manage his universal credit on his own: again, this used to be Kelly working through it with him but now he only asks for advice when he gets stuck. But his smartphone is also opening up something even more personal for Craig. During his time in the justice system, Craig lost contact with his daughter, which has been very upsetting for him. While he still won’t be able to see her in real life, the social work team has suggested that he use the video calling function of his new phone to see her, and so he’s quickly focusing on the skills he needs to do this in the very near future. He has also used the phone to see photos shared by grandparents, and can’t wait to see his daughter and be able to hear her voice.
Kelly said: ‘This is the longest Craig has ever stayed out of prison, and he’s come such a long way. I’m so proud of all he’s done and the phone has been totally brilliant for him, in ways we never expected. That social work has suggested video calling is so great, and I’m really excited for him.’
Click here to read more about the pilot and how it helped people change their lives.