Wales Education Minister Kirsty Williams today (15th April 2020) launched an initiative to get the children of Wales using their creativity to spread positive and entertaining messages online to older people who are currently self-isolating due to the Covid-19 lockdown. The Minister for Education’s launch video can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpW-TNbGDGQ&feature=youtu.be
Digital inclusion is more important than ever at the present time, with many older people missing out on face to face communication with family and friends. DCW and Hwb (the Welsh Government’s digital learning platform for schools) are jointly calling on children to become ‘Hwb Heroes’ and join the fight against isolation. DCW and Hwb are asking young people to get creative on the learning platform and submit everything from artwork, posters, poems, stories, photos, videos and stories which will then be published on Hwb.
The children’s content will then be shared widely with vulnerable and older generations as messages of hope and support which show that Welsh children care.
Kirsty Williams, Minister for Education, said of the initiative: “This is a difficult time for all of us, but particularly for some of our older or vulnerable people, and those who are in hospitals, nursing homes or hospices. Many of them will be missing being able to see their children and grandchildren and will be feeling even more isolated.
“This initiative is calling on Wales’ children and young people to get creative and send us messages for older and more vulnerable people in our communities. They need you now more than ever, so get online and become a Hwb Hero to help your Nain or Bampi, neighbour or friend during this difficult time.”
Matthew Lloyd, Digital Communities Wales Programme Manager at the Wales Co-operative Centre, explained: “Life is very different for everyone at the moment – many of us are on phones, tablets or laptops every day and know how to use these devices like the back of our hands. But for our older family members, neighbours, or for those in nursing homes or even in hospital, it is a very different story and they may well be feeling isolated.
“Isolation can become more acute for those who simply can’t pop to their local shops or go and see the hairdresser a few times a month. Something as simple as a joke, laugh or a chat makes a big difference to those who live alone, or who can’t see their family.
“Therefore, we are asking the children of Wales to get their superhero capes on, get their creative juices flowing and upload their creations to Hwb – let’s get people chatting, chuckling and smiling right across Wales.”
The Hwb Heroes initiative builds on Digital Heroes, a project delivered by Digital Communities Wales in schools, colleges and young people’s programmes. DCW works with children and young people, for whom using technology comes naturally, and shows them how to help older people get online and use the internet with confidence. To date, over 5,000 digital heroes have been trained across Wales.
Children can upload their getting online artwork, videos and stories on Hwb, here: https://hwb.gov.wales/hwbheroes
*Digital Communities Wales – Digital Confidence, Health and Well-being is a Welsh Government project which is delivered by the Wales Co-operative Centre. The project began in July 2019 and will continue until June 2022. If you would like to find out more about Digital Communities Wales, please visit: https://www.digitalcommunities.gov.wales/