Toggle mobile menu visibility

Adult Social Care digital initiative scoops silver at prestigious national awards

Norfolk County Council, 8 November 2022 00:00

Norfolk County Council has won silver at the prestigious Social Worker of the Year Awards for an innovative digital project which supports older people and vulnerable adults. 

The Adult Learning Disabilities and Innovation Team won silver in the Digital Transformation in Social Work award, which recognises teams which have sought to improve the lives of people with lived experience through the use of digital technologies. 

Cllr Bill Borrett, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said: "I am very proud that Norfolk's team have won Silver in the Digital Transformation in Social Work Award for the Care Phone, as it recognises Norfolk County Council's innovative culture and creative thinking.  

"This device is already improving the mental health and wellbeing of people we support and we have seen a significant reduction in isolation and anxiety levels from those who use the tablet.   

"We are continuing to look for opportunities to provide Care Phones to more people who would benefit such as those who are digitally excluded and other hard to reach groups." 

The Learning Disabilities and Innovation team's Care Phone is helping around 200 older people and vulnerable adults with low or no tech skills to keep in touch with their loved ones and with the professionals supporting them.  

It's a tablet with a built-in SIM card with internet access which has a screen split into simple tiles which show the picture of the name of the person the user wants to call. It helps people access support as well as reducing isolation, anxiety and loneliness. 

It was developed after Adult Social Services staff found the health and wellbeing of many of the people they supported was being severely impacted during the pandemic. They identified how technology could help and secured funding for a pilot which saw Care Phones distributed through Norfolk care providers.  

Funding for the project was secured from the STP Digital Accelerator Fund and the Care Phone was developed by tech company Alcove and implemented together with the help of Rethink partners. It was developed with the support of the Adult Social Care Commissioning team. 

Kim, 53, attends Dereham Community Hub managed by Independence Matters. The centre was closed during lockdown, and she really missed the staff and her friends. Her support worker gave her a Care Phone so she could keep in touch and participate in activities virtually. Kim has never used technology before and her only method of communications before receiving her Care phone was the mainline telephone.   

She said: "During lockdown we had to stay at home and couldn't see anyone. I really missed my friends and the staff at the hub. Vicky, my support worker, gave me my tablet and I love it. It is perfect, I get to ring my friends and they ring me. You just touch their picture on the screen - it's really easy. I am more comfy talking to them over the device and it is very relaxing."  

The awards in London were hosted by well-known broadcast journalist and TV presenter, Ashley John-Baptiste, who himself is care experienced and credits his social worker for helping him get to where he is today. 

They highlight social workers' outstanding work during the last 12 months to shine a light on the often-hidden achievements of a compassionate profession. 

Senior social worker Bobbie Dean was a finalist in the Children's Social Worker of the Year category and team manager Owen Garrod was shortlisted for the Lifetime Achievement category. Both work in the council's City and South Life Beyond Care teams. 

Last modified: 14 May 2024 12:44

Share this page

Facebook icon Twitter icon Email icon


Print icon