Grandpads helping to keep older people in touch with loved ones

Austin Reddy, one of the residents in East Suffolk who has received a Grandpad.

Austin Reddy, one of the East Suffolk residents who received a Grandpad during the initial trial that has now been extended. - Credit: East Suffolk Council

A council has extended the trial of a scheme that helps to keep older residents connected with loved ones.

East Suffolk Council launched a scheme in July last year that saw tablets – ‘Grandpads’ – lent to older residents, who are vulnerable due to social isolation.

Now, the East Suffolk Grandpad Loan Scheme has been extended for a further 12 months, thanks to funding.

The scheme, which is aimed at tackling social isolation amongst older residents or those who struggle to use technology - particularly those who have little or no contact with loved ones or the outside world due to a lack of Wi-Fi, equipment or skills.

With the Grandpads specifically designed, as the large buttons and intuitive interface make it easy for older people to use the device, a total of 175 Grandpads are now available.

These will be lent free of charge to older residents across the district who have been identified as being socially isolated.

The devices include unlimited 4G internet, 24/7 personalised support and unlimited minutes.

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Once the extended trial period ends, the council will evaluate the scheme and assess whether residents will benefit it being rolled out across the district if additional funding can be secured.

Letitia Smith, East Suffolk’s cabinet member for communities, leisure and tourism, said: “Following the success of the initial trial, we’re really pleased to be able to extend the Grandpad scheme to even more residents across East Suffolk.

"Many older people have little or no experience with technology, but this shouldn’t mean that they are excluded from the many benefits it can offer, such as keeping connected with loved ones, accessing health services and online shopping.”

Stephen Burroughes, East Suffolk’s cabinet member for customer services, ICT and commercial partnerships, said: “As the lead for the council’s digital programmes, I am really pleased that we’re now able to offer even more people access to a Grandpad, which opens up a whole new world of opportunities for them.”

Do you know someone who would benefit from a Grandpad?

If you would like to nominate someone or would like more information email or call 01502 523119.