More than 1,200 disabled and older people in Derbyshire will be given greater access to health and social care services after a £200,000 National Lottery grant to Disability Direct.
The charity’s chief executive, Amo Raju, said: “We have long worried that older and disabled people have become marginalised because so many services can only be booked online.
“We wanted to remove inequality and ensure that everyone is able to access health and social care appointments.
“Therefore, we are going to develop the skills, experience and knowledge to access the online community, independently.”
Disability Direct’s CommunITy campaign pledges to recruit, support and train 20 volunteers in Derby per year to help 1,200 older and disabled people become digitally savvy.
It is committed to carrying out 1,632 hours of appointments per year and to working to improve the online services of at least ten other charities.
Amo added: “We also recognise that we need to break down barriers between Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups and health provision.
“This includes working with those whose first language is not English, who are further disadvantaged when seeking to access online, virtual appointments.”
Volunteers and the Disability Direct project team will work together to support those most vulnerable to access online medical consultations and appointments, virtual health and social care appointments, online booking systems (blood testing, physiotherapy) and online “repeat” prescriptions.
Amo said: “Our team will also guide clients through the new online portals at Derby and Burton Hospitals so individuals will be able to manage appointments, make appointments and see their treatment pathway.
“To do this, we will deliver training on different systems such as smartphones, tablets, laptops on a one-to-one and in small groups.
“This is a very exciting development for hundreds of disabled and older people in Derby and Derbyshire and would not have been possible without the National Lottery grant.
“Projects such as this show why it is important that people still buy the National Lottery tickets. They are really contributing to society by doing so.”