From South Africa to Chelmsford in seconds
An isolated veteran living in South Africa is connecting with his friends online for the first time with the help of Blesma’s Digital Inclusion Programme.
Leo Kirk, 87, contacted Blesma last June after he felt disconnected from those around him during the height of the pandemic. “I saw lots of wonderful online activities in Blesma Magazine , and I wanted to get involved,” said the REME veteran who lost his right leg below the knee in a road traffic accident.
“I contacted Blesma and explained that my phone was too small to use. When the Association realised I couldn’t afford a tablet, I was kindly given a grant.” The Digital Inclusion Programme, which coincided with the launch of Blesma Connects, provides tablets to those who are digitally isolated to help them access the online world, and offers help and advice to those who don’t have the confidence to make the most of their device.
“I had never used a tablet before but Blesma taught me a lot via Zoom,” said Leo. “It’s been a battle from time to time as I’m a slow learner, but I’m getting there and Blesma staff are always on hand for any questions I do have.”
Thanks to Blesma’s intervention, Leo has now participated in a range of online activities, including the Association’s online quizzes and the Royal Hospital Chelsea’s Breakfast Club, not to mention becoming adept at video calling friends across the globe.
“The tablet has added another interest to my life,” said Leo. “I’m very much on my own these days so it’s great to have the tablet and join in with the activities.