THE DISABILITY charity Leonard Cheshire Cymru have received funding to support disabled people in their services to become more digitally connected.

The charity has been awarded a Volunteering Wales Grant, funded by the Welsh Government, and administered by Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA). The grant aims to promote and improve volunteering opportunities in Wales.

Leonard Cheshire Cymru intends to use this award to recruit and train 72 young Digital Volunteers between the ages of 16-25. They will provide digital skills and support to people living in the charity’s care services or participants of community programmes to enable them to get more connected.

During the pandemic, many services moved online, and disabled people have been left behind. The project will empower disabled to access online opportunities to connect with friends and family, take part in online learning, work remotely, shop online, or access online health support.

Laurence is from Swansea, and when the pandemic hit, he had no way to stay in contact with friends.

“I used to meet my friends at the community farm, but we have not been able to volunteer there since the start of the pandemic.  My church has online meetings, but my phone does not connect to Zoom.”

He received support from the charity to enable him to access and use digital technology so he could remain connected with his community. He made significant progress and was even able to start using emails on his tablet as well as learning of some shortcuts that made using Zoom easier.

“I never knew I could do so much; technology is fun when you start to use it.”

Glyn Meredith, Director for Wales said “We are so pleased to have been awarded this grant. The pandemic has caused a lot of unintended isolation. Through bridging the digital divide, the disabled people we support will become better connected, have greater independence, and as a result, better quality of life.”