Many carers are facing digital exclusion, they feel nervous about being online, or may lack the skills necessary to navigate the online world. Covid-19 may have accelerated this, where the world has become more digitalised than ever before. Despite this, 97% of carers still don’t receive support with computers and the internet. Carers who may struggle digitally, risk missing out the many benefits digital technology can bring.

Benefits involve:

  • Saving money – Carers can enjoy discounts through paying for things online, yet only 31% of carers use the internet for saving money purposes
  • Research – Carers can gain valuable information and guidance for caring for a vulnerable individual through online information and health websites
  • Convivence – Through use of online shopping, banking and online booking systems, things can be done without having to leave the house
  • Support Networks – Carers can access support groups and online forums specific to those who care, where they can gain support from those who understand their position
  • Entertainment – For carers who may need to unwind from their potentially stressful responsibilities, they can enjoy e-books, online streaming platforms which provide tv shows and films and games, which can all be accessed through the internet

To enjoy the benefits digital use can bring, being well-appointed with the necessary digital skills is essential. There are now projects and support groups that help enable carers to become digitally equipped:

  • Carers UK – Carers UK is now working with Tinder Foundation to help carers improve their digital skills. This project will enable carers to have the ‘essential’ skills necessary for digital use, navigate social media, do online shopping and have access to valuable information about being online.
  • Digital Inclusion project – This project aims to support carers on their digital journey. Helping carers search the web, set up zoom, and use WhatsApp.
  • Mobilise – Mobilise breaks down digital skills into a meaningful guide, focusing on services that make a difference to carers

By Tabitha Desmond

Working for Carers is a London-wide project that supports unpaid carers, aged 25 or over, to move closer to employment. The project is led by Carers Trust and delivered by its network of partners across London. Working for Carers is funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund. Contact Working for Carers on 020 8868 5224 Ext 218/208.