Hotline offering free technical support during pandemic

A TELEPHONE hotline to provide support for people with IT and digital problems of all kinds during the coronavirus pandemic has received more than 50 calls in the first three weeks.

Callers comments show that helping to keep people connected with friends and family during the lockdown makes all the difference.

Councillor Gary Suttle, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for Economic Growth and Skills said: “We have recently supported people booking medical appointments online, helped a community village website set up WhatsApp to share residents’ photos of their lives during lockdown, set up video calls with friends and family and lots more.

“There has never been a time when it has been more important for people to feel connected. It can make all the difference between being utterly alone and isolated and being part of a community that cares and wants everyone to feel they are cared for.”

There is no problem too small for the technical team – here’s a few examples of how they can help you:

  • Helping families with digital applications for home schooling
  • Providing help to get online for home shopping
  • Support for all digital NHS services and e-Consult
  • Setting up video calls such as Skype and FaceTime to keep in contact with friends and family
  • Support to use all digital appliances and solve problems
  • Using digital to exercise at home and keep fit

Andy Hargreaves a digital adviser said: “One lady I helped this week uses her iPad to keep in touch with her family via FaceTime. She told me that she couldn’t hear her family speaking to her clearly on her calls because the sound on the iPad was distorted.

“I helped her to correct the problem over the phone and soon it was working properly. She said to me that if she wasn’t in isolation she would come over and give me a hug because the iPad was her lifeline now to the outside world.”

The Dorset Digital Hotline is run by a group of volunteers mostly made up of retired IT professionals and some Dorset Council staff. The team are extremely versatile and experienced and can offer a wide range of support, including assistance to vulnerable people in the community.

If you live in Dorset digital help is just a phone call away – call 01305 221000 (select option 2) Monday to Friday from 10am to 12noon (excluding Bank Holidays) or leave a message.

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