Six Veterans from the charity Erskine have hugely benefitted from online social interactions during the pandemic after receiving iPads from Connecting Scotland.

Connecting Scotland works to support everyone in Scotland to get online and has a scheme to benefit older people. Erskine successfully applied for six iPads for Veterans aged over 60 who live in either an Assisted Living Apartment or a cottage on Erskine’s Veterans Village in Bishopton.

All of the residents, four of whom live alone, have shielded throughout the pandemic and were therefore at high risk of both the physical and mental health effects of loneliness and social isolation. The iPads have enabled them to connect with family and friends, shop online, access the internet and participate in the zoom sessions offered by our Activities Centre. With sessions including art, music and woodwork classes, genealogy, holistic therapy and all manner of social zooms from afternoon teas to comedy and chat. Having the equipment and internet access ensures they have daily opportunities to remain actively engaged with, and involved in, their community.

RAF Veteran Netta Clucas, age 89, who has been using one of the iPads since February, said: “I’m delighted to have an iPad which has opened a whole new world to me. I’ve joined zoom sessions with Erskine’s Activity Centre members. I’ve particularly enjoyed the singing with music going back to 1920’s which has been lovely. It is a challenge, but I’ve taken on the challenge and I’m very pleased to have joined the modern age.”

Netta and the other Veterans have relished being reunited online with their friends at Erskine Reid Macewen Activity Centre. There have been smiles all round as they got to see each other again. Veteran George has been able to attend the pottery class which he so enjoys. Hugh has enjoyed the mindfulness sessions on zoom with tutor Morag – a real treat after not seeing each other for nearly a year.