News News The impact of loneliness Technology over the years has opened our eyes to a whole new digital world that allows us, at a click of a button, to have access to a world of information. We are the most connected we have ever been and yet many of us still feel the impact of loneliness. It provides people with the ability stay in contact with friends and family across the globe - bringing loved ones together. For many people, technology has been a life-line during the Coronavirus pandemic to help reduce feelings of loneliness whilst travelling and visiting other household’s remains restricted. Yet, at Carr Gomm we continue to support some of the most digitally excluded people across Scotland. So we are attempting to find alternative solutions to combat loneliness during a time of limited social interactions. This has been a challenge. Still we have worked hard to provide on-going support on a national and local level to both staff and people supported to break down the barriers people face in regards to connectivity. For staff we are encouraging them to use an internal app called ‘Spark’ to share ideas, thoughts and experiences to remind everyone they are not alone by sharing the positive, creative work happening in our services at such a difficult time. Our staff are also supporting people to use technology within their home to stay socially connected with friends and family. One example of this is staff supporting people to use Whatsapp and Zoom in order to take care of vital relationships that will help to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. Across the organisation staff teams are bringing the people they support together online, who have made friends through Carr Gomm and are unable to meet them in person. For those who do not use technology, a number of our services have created newsletters to ensure everyone still feels included and is aware of what is happening within the organisation and across their area. In the Highlands, staff are using technology to learn new skills and take part in a range of new activities that the people they support enjoy. This is proving a real success and highlights our person-centred approach of tailoring support to the needs of the individual and taking into account their environment. It is a long journey but we are proud to help make an impact in connecting our communities and reducing social isolation and loneliness.