A digital health and wellbeing hub that aims to improve people’s online skills is to be scaled up across England after a successful local pilot.
65 High Street, known as Nailsea Place, was established in 2018 as a learning centre where staff and volunteers can help people improve their digital skills in healthcare.
After its successful pilot in Nailsea, Somerset, the hub will now be expanded in north west London, the Wirral, Blackburn, Middlesbrough and Stafford.
So far the initiative has engaged 1,340 people including those with dementia, diabetes, autism and young carers.
The centre helps users engage with services online from calling friends and family over skype, ordering repeat prescriptions, and choosing a preferred hospital for a surgery or appointment.
The project is run in partnership with NHS services, Nailsea Town Council and Healthwatch.
Ian Morrell, development manager at Nailsea Town Council, said: “The digital revolution has created disadvantages which did not previously exist, and many people feel excluded and left behind.
“At No. 65, we have aimed to build trust with the local community, and provide one-to-one support, introducing people to technology in an accessible way so they can see the benefits digital can provide.
“When people come to us for help with technology, the first thing we do is find out what they need – so we are providing a service that is led by users, and which ensures they get what they want from the support we can offer.”
The second wave of hubs will be in Blackburn with Darwen Library, Staffordshire Refugee Centre, a community centre in Saltburn and the Grenfell victims support centre in north west London.
The project forms part of the NHS’s widening digital participation programme which aims to make digital health accessible to everyone.
Twenty digital inclusion pathfinders are being run across the country in partnership with charity Good Things Foundation, to test new ways to help people access digital tools.
One of those projects is a digital outreach programme is Hastings that helps authorities monitor the health of homeless and insecurely housed people.
Digital health champions are on hand at the local library and wellbeing centre to help people access the sites.
The outreach team is also able to use the technology to communicate with St John’s ambulance to assess clinical opinions on injuries and symptoms of rough sleepers.