Tablet success is music to our ears: Digital Lifeline Fund

Access to a tablet is bringing the pick of the pops to Susan Russell, 50, from Bromsgrove, who received a device through the UK government's Digital Lifeline scheme.

AbilityNet is helping to support people like Susan, who has a learning disability.

Susan had used a tablet before she got the new device through the Digital Lifeline Fund, so she was familiar with how apps might work. “I had one before, so it wasn’t so new for me. I wasn’t so nervous about it. I found it quite easy to use."

Susan Russell who received a tablet through digital lifeline

“I like pop music. Listening to pop music is relaxing. I listen to music that’s in the charts.” 

Spells the name of the bank ShowaddywaddyA keen music-lover, Susan’s next goal was to search for her favourite tunes on YouTube. 

“I like pop music. Listening to pop music is relaxing. I listen to music that’s in the charts.” 

One of Susan's favourite bands is the 1970s pop group Showaddywaddy, known for its 1950s and 1960s style songs.

Keeping connected during lockdown

Susan, who lives in supported living (a combination of housing and care) in Worcestershire, got a tablet through The Hive Library, run by Worcestershire County Council. 

In an AbilityNet assessment, Susan told us it was important for her to keep in touch with friends and relatives. “It was difficult being on my own in lockdown,” she recalls, “I was seeing less people.” 

Our volunteers recommended apps, including a messaging app and a contact list so Susan could see who calls or messages her and automatically save their numbers.

Game on: relaxing with a tablet

Susan was also keen to use the device to play games which she finds help her relax. 

With advice from AbilityNet, support staff at the Bromsgrove Resource Centre, a day centre Susan visits three times a week, enabled her to download the apps she needed.

“I use it for games,” says Susan of her tablet, explaining that she is keen on a fishing game: “I find it relaxing!” She also uses a colouring app and particularly loves making cross stitch patterns on the tablet.

Even though Susan had used a tablet before, she says it is essential to “take your time” so new users are not overwhelmed by new technology.

As for her own tablet use, she says she is looking forward to maximising its potential: “I’m still finding out new things with it.”

Digital Lifeline is an emergency response project delivering devices, data and digital skills support to digitally excluded people with learning disabilities. It’s funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and delivered by Good Things Foundation in partnership with AbilityNet and Digital Unite. The project is also supported by Learning Disability England, the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group, self-advocates and other disability and digital inclusion organisations. Find out more in our impact report

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