LIVING WITH LOCKDOWN
We are a team of nine churches, deeply embedded in our communities in the town of Totnes and surrounding villages on either side of the River Dart. In response to lockdown in March we began connecting our communities via zoom and in other ways. We have gained experience in offering vital pastoral support by digital means and are currently building on this by improving both our equipment and our skills. There are many isolated and lonely people in our communities, quite a few of them elderly, and one of the joys has been enabling them to get connected. Some of them are already connected to the internet in their homes but really struggle with the technology. After patiently talking them through the process, it's been a real thrill when they've been able to join us for services or other activities.
We now want to reach out further to others, and our project is to fund a contract for six 4G-enabled tablets which can be loaned out for six months at a time to other isolated people who may not as yet have internet in their homes. This will be done with support from volunteers to enable them to get the maximum benefit from the tablet. We anticipate that, once they have built up confidence, they will be keen to obtain their own equipment along with a wi-fi connection. The loaned tablet can then be used by others. The project is planned to last for a year, but once a need has been established we may decide to seek further funding in order to extend it. Our budget is £2,200 for the first year.
It is clear that the challenge of this winter is going to be enormous. Disconnection and loneliness once again are going to become major issues, exacerbated by loss of daylight and winter weather. Fortunately we have learnt from previous experience of lockdown and are preparing ourselves as best we can. As churches we work closely with other local groups, and shall continue to do so to support the well-being of our communities. We also have links with care homes in the area and plan to roll out our project to them as well. We are grateful to all those who support our project, which we believe will go a long way towards reducing
isolation in these challenging times.