Niall Horan donates iPads to Age UK to help keep older people connected during pandemic
Published on 07 July 2020 12:00 AM
World-famous singer-song writer Niall Horan has donated 25 iPads to Age UK Wandsworth to help the local Charity tackle loneliness during the coronavirus lockdown.
The donated iPads, which include internet connection, will enable some of the local Age UK’s older service users to keep in contact with friends and family, who they haven’t been able to see as much during this challenging time, via apps like FaceTime and Skype.
As well as helping to combat loneliness, the iPads will also help people who didn’t have the tools previously to now access useful information and advice online. Age UK has seen a huge surge in older people seeking authoritative information, guidance, emotional reassurance and practical support during the pandemic. Not only that the iPads, delivered with 4G connection, allow the service users to read the news whenever they like and help to provide entertainment during lockdown with access they didn’t have before to some of their favourite tv shows and music.
Speaking about the donation, Niall said: “Isolation is hard for all of us, but even harder for older people who can’t get out at all. I’m lucky to be able to chat to my grandma on WhatsApp but I’d be gutted if that wasn’t an option and I know for so many it isn’t for a number of reasons.
“I’m really pleased to be able to help people communicate - hopefully these iPads will mean more older people can keep in touch with grandkids, friends and the rest of the family through a range of different apps. It’s great to chat on the phone, but always better to see someone’s face, especially now when it can be harder for older people to see family and friends in person.
“It’s great to be supporting Age UK - for anyone who doesn’t live near enough to their grandparents to pick up shopping and be a helping hand, it’s comforting to know Age UK is there to help. They’re there for any older person that needs them which is so crucial right now to help people through this tough time.”
Since the lockdown began in March, Age UK and its local network have been calling on the country to come together to help raise vital funds so it can be there for older people by continuing to deliver its essential services, which are more in demand than ever before, including the Charity’s Advice line and Telephone Friendship Services.
Hazel, 76, who prior to the pandemic attended Age UK Wandsworth Digipals sessions at the local library where the Charity would help her access her emails on the computers, received the surprise iPad gift this week. During lockdown Hazel wasn’t able to attend the group and check her emails – instead she would phone Age UK Wandsworth who would log in on her behalf to check for any emails which they would then read out to her.
Hazel said: “I have really struggled during lockdown as I like to keep abreast of my affairs and I can’t do that without a computer. I am so delighted to have this iPad! It will let me check my emails, look at the news whenever I want and also catch up on and TV programmes I have missed! Thank you so much!”
Pollene, 80, has been isolating alone and has only been able to see her carers during much of the lockdown. Pollene is mainly bed-bound so hasn’t been able to get out of the house at all and sadly due to restrictions she hasn’t been able to spend time with her Age UK Wandsworth volunteer befriender Clare in person. Although they’ve been chatting regularly on the phone, Pollene recently had her first FaceTime with Clare after receiving her iPad, where was able to see her friend’s face for the first time in months!
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: “We are delighted that Niall has come on board to support older people who might be feeling lonely during the lockdown. This is an exceptionally challenging time for many, especially those most at risk of getting the virus including older and vulnerable people, who desperately need as much support as possible right now.
“The iPad donations will hopefully help make a big difference to some of Age UK Wandsworth’s service users, who can’t take advantages of the eases in lockdown like many of us can now. With local activity groups and classes on hold for the foreseeable future, being able to connect with loved ones via technology will mean a great deal to some.”
The impact of lockdown on the lives of older people and the continued threat of Covid-19 will last for many, many months. We urgently need your support to ensure we can be there for the vulnerable older people that need us. Help Age UK keep their Information & Advice and friendship services running and help local Age UKs provide practical support in their communities by donating at
www.ageuk.org.uk/coronaappeal - online donations are the most effective way to reach the most in need at this time.
To find out how you can be a good neighbour to older people visit www.ageuk.org.uk/neighbourly