Community Partners Confirmed For County Council’s Mobile Digital Care Hub Project
As part of Suffolk County Council’s Suffolk 2020 project to kit out community vehicles to showcase a range of digital care options available to older or vulnerable residents, Suffolk Family Carers and the Rural Coffee Caravan have both confirmed that they are ‘onboard’ and signed up to participate in the scheme.
Four recognisable community vehicles, that are already used to visit rural communities across Suffolk will now be upgraded to provide residents with the opportunity to connect, experience and learn more about the range of technology that may help to compliment their care needs, helping them to live independently in their own homes.
Hopefully, as communities continue to respect and adhere to national and local Covid restrictions and guidance, the project will begin in May. The ambition is to visit the whole of Suffolk within a 12 month period, dependent on how progress is made in the response and recovery from the pandemic.
Each accessible vehicle will be adapted to ensure there is space for people to safely come aboard to discover, trial and learn more about potential care technology solutions that can support their needs. Amongst the large range of equipment that the project hopes to showcase is a full ‘Alexa’ suite of talkback technology, the Ring Doorbell with video talkback capability, Droplet Mugs to support hydration, pressure sensor equipment, GPS trackers and Dementia Clocks.
All such equipment could potentially improve personal wellbeing and circumstance, with the hope to keep people living independently at home or in delaying their need for additional support from formal care services.
As part of the project, fully trained members of staff and friendly, helpful volunteers will be operating the vehicles and showcasing the equipment.
Cllr Beccy Hopfensperger, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Care, said: “I am so pleased that Suffolk Family Carers and Rural Coffee Caravan have agreed to participate in this exciting new project to showcase a selection of the digital technology available to help support some of our more vulnerable residents, giving them continued independence and connection to organisations that can provide support services.
“Should this pilot scheme prove successful in coming months, we hope to see further local community partners join the digital revolution and work with us to upgrade more vehicles to help further demonstrate the range of supportive digital technology that is increasingly available to complement face to face care.”
Ann Osborn, Chief Executive Officer of Rural Coffee Caravan said: “Our world has become even more digitally driven in the past year, inevitably leaving people behind and highlighting the problem of digital exclusion. We are therefore delighted to be working with Suffolk Family Carers and Suffolk County Council to bring ‘digital extension’ to rural Suffolk.
“All our vehicles will be equipped with WIFI and have a range of simple helpful ‘techy’ gadgets on board for us to demonstrate and people to try in the friendly non-threatening environments our visits create. We hope to take any fears away and we can’t wait to get started.”
Richard Swale, Strategic Manager of Suffolk Family Carers said: “Suffolk Family Carers is pleased to be working in partnership with the Rural Coffee Caravan and the digital care team from Suffolk County Council on this innovative project. Our staff and volunteers are excited to bring examples of digital solutions which can aid the lives of Family Carers and of the people they care for directly to those living in isolated pockets of the community using our especially adapted vehicles”