Virtual drop-in, online-only

Inclusion Lab, plan B

We are fast-forwarding elements of a project named ‘Inclusion Lab’. We might have told you about it last year. It was intended specifically for people who cannot go the drop-in centre because they are stuck at home. Now, that is all of us.

But there is one massive, unavoidable difference — there is no physical centre, nowhere to get direct 1:1 help from volunteers. Everything must be online — and that will be really difficult for many people reading this. Our Virtual Drop-in will be as simple as we can make it — and we will have online volunteers waiting to help you when you have arrived there. We will help you by email and text as well, if you need it.

We haven’t forgotten that many of you do not have Internet at home, or do not have a suitable device. We are working out ways to solve those problems.

If we have your email address, you might be on our email noticeboard list already. If not, send an email to help@50pd.uk and we will add you. If you don’t use email, we can contact you by text if we know your phone number. If you are not on our SMS text list, send a text to 07423 162019, and we will add you.

G Suite and seniors.org.uk

The Virtual Drop-in will be based mainly on G Suite Hangouts Meet, which some of you have already seen and used. It’s a business tool for communication and collaboration — safe, reliable, and relatively easy to use. And it has none of the frippery and privacy risks of social media.

If you are one of the 100+ people with email accounts at seniors.org.uk — you already have the Virtual Drop-in. You have had it for a long time, because seniors.org.uk is a G Suite domain, and your account is one of 500 that Google gave us twelve years ago.

Anyone can join. You don’t need a seniors.org.uk account to use the Virtual Drop-in — but there are some advantages, and we can add another 350 older people and volunteers who would like to join us.