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Video calling scheme for older people

The Council wants to hear from residents who can’t or don’t use computers but who would be interested in trying out easy-to use video calling technology called Visbuzz.



It’s designed for older or vulnerable adults, and it aims to reduce social isolation and improve people’s general wellbeing and independence.



You don’t need to have a computer or the internet to register an interest in a year-long Visbuzz trial. If selected, you will be provided with an internet-enabled electronic device, which you can use to make video calls to friends and family – with equipment free of charge and on loan to you for the time you take part in the trial.



Cllr Angie Bean, Waltham Forest Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: “This scheme represents a wonderful opportunity for our older and more vulnerable residents to conveniently stay in touch with their friends and family in a simple, fun and much more interactive way than a traditional phone call.



“We’re absolutely committed to doing all we can to combatting social isolation in our community and helping older residents gain greater independence. So if you are, or you know someone, who is in some way experiencing loneliness and who is uncomfortable with technology, please do get in touch.”



The Visbuzz application works by showing the user a picture frame containing photographs of the people they have chosen to keep in touch with. A single touch of a photograph is all that’s needed to connect them for a face-to-face video call, or to accept an incoming call. If it’s not convenient to talk, there is a simple messaging system. No unauthorised callers can use Visbuzz.



Friends or relatives can video call the Visbuzz user from just about any tablet, smartphone, laptop or PC connected to the internet.



Everyone taking part in the one-year Visbuzz trial will be given an easy-to-understand demonstration in how to use the technology, along with ongoing support should they encounter problems.



Visbuzz does not give full internet access, only the ability to communicate with relatives, friends and others who have the ability to make video calls online. Energy costs such as charging/powering the device are not included.



If you, or someone you know, would like to take part in a free trial, phone Sacha Whellams on 020 8496 4929 or email sacha.whellams@walthamforest.gov.uk.

If you would like more information about any of these press releases or have a different media enquiry please contact us at media@walthamforest.gov.uk or on 020 8496 4521 / 4802.

For out of hours please email media@walthamforest.gov.uk or call 07966 915 157.