Written: 17th April 2020 

Updated:18th April 2020 

3 MIN READ

During the COVID-19 pandemic lots of organisations, including the Stuart Low Trust, are trying to deliver their activities differently. At the Stuart Low Trustwe have been focusing on contacting our participants and are attempting to bring our offline programmes, online. We have been doing that through creating resources on our website such as our list of virtual arts visits and virtual nature visits and by delivering activities using digital communications technology.  

Digital communications technology 

Communications technology is equipment and programs that enable us to process and communicate information. Digital versions of these include Zoom, Google Hangouts and Skype to name a few.  

Digital communications technology has a major role to play in enabling us to reach our participants and re-create the sense of inclusion and belonging that is central to our activities. The safety of our participants is of vital importance and this has been a key consideration when thinking about how we can deliver our activities online. 

There are lots of different types of digital communications technology; over the last few weeks everyone seems to have an opinion on what is the best to use. Our starting point was making a list of what we needed the technology to do for us; for the people that lead our sessions and the participants who would be attending.  

We made a long list of features we wanted the technology to have based on what our hosts and participants needed. We then made a list of all the possible digital communications technologies and their features. We cross referenced the list of things we needed from the technology with the features they offered, resulting in a list of digital communications technology to test.  

Testing digital communications technology 

We know that different people have very different access to technology and different set ups and so it was important to test as many different set ups as possible. Our aim was that the process of using the technology was as smooth as possible for our participants and hosts. 

Understanding the risks 

Mapping and understanding the risks of delivering activities online as well as the risks associated with particular digital communications technology is key to ensuring we continue to deliver high quality services. 

Following this process, we have identified technologies that we will use for delivering online activities and were able to plan how we could support our session leaders and participants to use communication technology safely. We are currently using Zoom for the delivery of our online activities as we believe that it offers the best package of features to meet the needs of our participants and session leads.  

Support getting online 

We have created a guide for session leaders and a guide for participants, which outlines how they can set up a Zoom account and use it safely. We have tried to make this as user friendly and accessible as possible because we know that people process information differently 

Continuous monitoring  

We are asking for feedback from session leaders and participants about their experience of using Zoom. We are also continuing to seek any new information that will help us to deliver our activities as safely as possible.  

As this is a new area for us, we will make changes and evolve our practices and guidance in light of feedback or the identification of new risks so that our use of digital communications technology best suits the needs of our participants, session leaders and the organisation 

Online Safety  

The safety of our participants is of vital importance and this has been a key consideration when thinking about how we can deliver our activities online. The Stuart Low Trust is a participant led organisation so thinking about what our participants need from digital communications technology and how they might access it has been central to the process of bringing our activities online.  

Help us, help you 

Please help us to deliver the best support possible during this time, by taking this short survey: https://stuartlowtrust.typeform.com/to/BFpisk 

Written by

Lorna Lewis, Operations and Communications Manager- Stuart Low Trust