A north-east charity is launching an app to support people who are affected by homelessness and isolation during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Aberdeen Cyrenians, which supports people affected by homelessness, violence, domestic abuse and other forms of social exclusion, has been awarded £49,978 from the Crisis: In this Together Fund to start their new Digital Connect initiative.
The charity will use a new app to share advice and support from practitioners, send out key messages and build trusted relationships.
It comes after the organisation joined forces with three other charities as well as the Evening Express and Original 106 to help residents facing difficulties during the crisis.
The charities, including Social Bite, CFINE and Aberdeen Foyer, are working together to make sure no one is left struggling.
They have formed a partnership called AC2U to help individuals and families who cannot leave their homes to access essential goods.
Lynda Reid-Fowler, community service lead said: “For our service user community, the digital connectivity gap has been heightened by Covid-19.
“People often don’t have the knowledge and confidence to get online safely, or they lack the devices and connections necessary to do so, leading to severe disadvantage.
“To combat this, we will begin piloting our Digital Connect app with 25 individuals chosen from across our services and then begin rolling it out to our wider community over the coming months.
“We will be using the app to share advice and support from practitioners, send out key messages and build trusted relationships – similar to what we would do in a day-to-day sit-down appointment.
“Over time, we also hope to do more group work in a safe and secure environment online to complement our face-to-face services.”
Lynda added: “The people chosen for this pilot won’t have a device to use the app, so we will be gifting them a smartphone and credits which they can use to access our support.”
Aberdeen Cyrenians is now one of five Get Digital Scotland partners, and the only one based in northern Scotland.
Mike Burns, Aberdeen Cyrenians chief executive, said: “We’re delighted to have become a Get Digital Scotland partner. This was something we were already working on before this crisis, and which we have accelerated in recent weeks as we moved many of our services online.
“Like many other organisations across Scotland, we’ve had to embrace digital like never before, and this has not been without its challenges.
“We recognise that we need to enable the people we work with to do the same, so they can enjoy the same benefits we all take for granted. We need to get them online to get stuff done and stay connected as we move through Covid-19 and into the future.”