Leading Lives were delighted to have three finalists in Suffolk Care Awards last week, two finalists were up for Apprentice of the Year and our Digital Lifeline Project Group were finalists in the Innovative Practice Category.

We were even more thrilled that our Digital Lifeline Project Group won the Innovative Practice Category!

During the pandemic, we started using more digital devices and platforms to communicate and engage with our customers who were isolating at home. We soon realised many people did not have access to a device (tablet or smart phone) or had to share a device with family/carers, and some were lacking the skills to use devices affectively.

We applied to Digital Lifeline, funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) and were awarded 40 Lenovo tablets. We worked with Ability Net to set up and distribute the devices to people we support and who were most in need. We set up email accounts (many people did not have their own email address) and support workers provided a minimum of 8 hours 1-1 support on how to use the tablet. The facial recognition features enabled people to open their device simply by looking at it. This addressed concerns around GDPR and removed the need for passwords, making life simpler and safer.

Being online and using the devices enabled people to book health appointments, purchase their weekly groceries, access to social media and communicate regularly with friends and family using face time.

Project Lead and Business Development Manager Boo Dendy said, “We’re really pleased to be recognised for this project because it highlights the barriers for adults with learning disabilities accessing digital spaces and having a life ‘online’, something many of us take for granted. With a little support, technology can help create a community and enable people to be more independent for themselves.  We’d like to send a big thank you to all our support workers who have been involved, and the support we received from Ability Net for training and setting up of devices.”

This win maintains Leading Lives record of winning at least one award every year since the Suffolk Care Awards began

We’d also like to thank Care Development East for putting on these awards. It was a wonderful to see so many fantastic teams and individuals across the county recognised for all they do. We were honoured to be counted amongst them.