Delivering Safely Using Digital Communications Technology


During the COVID-19 pandemic lots of  organisations , including the Stuart Low Trust, are trying to deliver their activities differently. At the Stuart Low  Trust ,  we 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  safe l y . 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  safe l y . 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  safe l y  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.

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Written by

Lorna Lewis, Operations and Communications Manager- Stuart Low Trust

DBS Check Online Certified