Partnership project helps community stay connected

Sixty local residents have been able to stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to a £10,000 initiative delivered by the Mid and East Antrim Loneliness Network.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 8:33 am

The network, made up of community, voluntary and statutory organisations including MEA Council, secured over £10k through the Department for Communities and council under the Warm, Well and Connected scheme to roll out a Social Inclusion Tablets initiative. The aim was to provide people who were not digitally connected with an android tablet device. In addition, those who availed of the scheme were offered wraparound support including benefit checks, financial advice and access to the Uniform Exchange and other schemes, in partnership with Mid and East Antrim Community Advice Services (MEACAS) and the Loneliness Network. The project ran from March – May this year and all 60 tablets were distributed to local families, and individuals through the eight organisations including Northern Health and Social Care Trust (NHSCT) and Ballymena South Community Cluster.

Yvonne Carson, Thematic Lead for Loneliness, NHSCT, said: “On behalf of the Trust, I fully support this scheme, which has tackled loneliness in the Borough during the Covid 19 period. I understand those who received a tablet are very grateful for this support which has improved their sense of wellbeing and connectedness.“

Mayor Peter Johnston said: “At a time when people were staying at home, the scheme helped local people stay connected with services they need, as well as maintaining social connections to support their wellbeing.”

Mayor Cllr Peter Johnston along with Yvonne Carson (Northern Trust) and Lisa McAuley (MEACAS Volunteer Receptionist).

Michele Campbell, MEACAS, said: “Residents were given assistance by MEACAS to help them get online and make the most of the device. The tablet is theirs to keep and was a great tool for them during lockdown...I would love to see this scheme roll out again.”