During the Covid-19 pandemic, it became increasing apparent that clients living in shared accommodation were struggling to access Universal Credit and other online-only support groups.
With job centres and libraries closed, access to shared online digital equipment was extremely limited. Many clients were also feeling socially isolated, which had a detrimental effect on their mental health.
In November 2020, Transform successfully gained funding support from The National Lottery Community Fund and The Community Foundation for Surrey, totalling £13,600. This funding was used to purchase vital IT equipment to support many of our clients through these challenging times – and into the future.
28 Dell laptops and Microsoft Licences were purchased through our managed service partner LIMA and delivered to our Head Office in Leatherhead. LIMA worked in partnership with Dell to obtain the best deals, securing as many laptops as possible and ensuring clients’ online safety. Three members of Bupa’s IT department from Staines then helped complete the final set-up with LIMA so that the laptops were ready for client use.
The laptops were delivered to eight housing and support service teams across the county, including Elmbridge, Farnham, Guildford, Reigate, Runnymede, Spelthorne, Sutton, and Woking. They were then distributed to the 28 shared properties housing clients most in need of them.
Transform’s Corporate & Community Relationship Manager David Annand said: “The laptops are being used by our clients to access Universal Credit, which is only available online, to make and attend virtual GP appointments and other online health, addiction and 1-2-1 support services. The laptops will also enable our clients to attend online educational and personal development courses and apply for employment.”
“The laptops will initially benefit more than 100 socially excluded clients, but this will increase as many of those clients successfully move on from Transform,” he added. “New clients will then benefit from this new resource that we are delighted to be able to offer them thanks to our funding partners and volunteers.”
If you would like to find out how you can support homeless and vulnerable people in Surrey, please contact David Annand at [email protected].