Q&A with AbilityNet

In this spotlight on the community, we talk to South Yorkshire Volunteer, Ingrid, from tech charity AbilityNet about how the work they do to make technology accessible to all.

At Home Instead, we strongly believe in embracing technology and engaging with the digital world. 

AbilityNet is a pioneering UK charity with a global perspective. It believes that the power of digital technology should be available to everyone, regardless of ability or age. With free online resources and a network of more than 350 community-based volunteers across the UK, the charity is able to help individuals with any disability, of any age, to use all kinds of digital technology.

In its mission, AbilityNet envisions a digital world accessible to all. The charity also works with national charities including RNIB, Age UK, Parkinson’s UK, and Stroke UK to support people with all disabilities.

“The feedback we’ve had from our stories has been amazing. It seems that it’s really therapeutic for people’s voices to be heard, not only do people get a benefit from reading them but it also makes people feel connected to each other”.

How can AbilityNet help people?

AbilityNet has locally-based Tech Volunteers who support clients within their region. To request support, you can contact the charity on a freephone number 0800 048 7642. The AbilityNet team will gather your details and chat with you about how best you can be supported. If a home visit is required, you will be contacted by a local Tech Volunteer. All the volunteers have Enhanced DBS clearance, and additionally you can give a password to make certain the person you are speaking to or calls to see you is a genuine AbilityNet Tech Volunteer.

Common issues Tech Volunteers can help with include supporting people with their phone line, TV or computer, and setting up email and video calls. The support is completely free and extended to anyone and everyone in the community who is disabled, older people, and their carers. Where some people may just need to ask a quick question and may not need a home visit, there is also a free helpline available that is open to anyone to ring, at any time: 0800 048 7642

“Our one-to-one support at AbilityNet enables us to provide support that is truly individual to the person in need, building a relationship and a connection that goes beyond just one home visit.”

– Ingrid, South Yorkshire Tech Volunteer

“What works best from my experience is showing clients how to find things out for themselves by using Help. They are often amazed at their own ability, and that gives them confidence to find out more. They often say things like “You’ve taught me so much” when in fact they have taught themselves!”

– Stewart, AbilityNet Tech Volunteer

Does AbilityNet have additional services?

AbilityNet’s work doesn’t stop there. In addition to its home visit support directly with clients in need, the charity also works work with businesses and organisations to inform, educate and guide employers on how to create a digitally-accessible work environment. This includes help to build websites, apps and other digital platforms to ensure that disabled people can access services, and also advising on adjustments that workplaces can make to meet the needs of disabled employees in the workplace.

Call 0800 048 7542, complete a ‘Free Support Form’, email [email protected]rg.uk or [email protected] for South Yorkshire enquiries.

Find out about Home Instead’s tech services here