In an increasingly digital society, not being able to get online can have a significant impact on your life. In some parts of Manchester, over 15% of adults have never been online and over 25% lack basic digital skills, meaning they are already at a disadvantage when looking for work, housing and some of life’s most basic needs. Our Reboot project is specifically focused on working with homeless people to help them with getting back on their feet and learning digital skills; sometimes the stories we hear through this work are quite remarkable.
James, a gentleman past retirement age, was living in temporary accommodation when he came to see us. He had very little knowledge of the internet or the services available to him, meaning that he had great difficulty liaising with his support network via email and had previously had to rely on his son to manage his Manchester Move account for him.
To begin, we walked him through all of the ways he could access and use his email account (and played an experimental game of email tennis with him!) We then helped him to properly communicate with his housing officer and familiarise himself with both the Manchester Move site and mobile app.
When James came to his second appointment with us a couple of weeks later, he had been offered an apartment in a retirement complex that he had found. The catch was that the apartment was completely bare. Just walls and floors. He had been informed that if he refused the flat the council's duty of care would end and so we set about finding ways to flesh the place out.
Through a combination of Google, Mustard Tree, Friends of the Elderly and the Local Welfare Provision Scheme grants, together we managed to get him set up. James now has a flat, the basic furniture it needed, bedding, kitchen equipment, and he somehow managed to find a company that would carpet the whole flat for £90.
For James, our support meant getting on the right path to build a home for himself. For others it may be finding a way into work or learning how being online can help you to save money by engaging with online services. Whoever you are. Whatever the problem. We’re here to help