Community engagement ‘pop up’ shop launches in Western Isles

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NHS Western Isles is seeking the views from local residents of how health, care and wellbeing could be improved by using familiar technology in new ways.

Living it Up (LiU), led by NHS24, aims to support better health, wellbeing and active lifestyles in Scotland; exploring how people use technology as part of their daily lives and how new technologies could be developed to tackle existing issues.

As part of the local project, a ‘Pop Up’ shop in Stornoway will be launched on June 17th, to engage with local people on their current use of technology and how familiar and new technologies could potentially be used to support better experiences.

The project, part-funded by the Western Isles Change Fund, is initially aimed at people over the age of 50 – and will be of particular interest to carers, people living with long term health and care conditions or those that just want to ensure they keep happy, healthy and safe.

It will deliver new and integrated health, care and wellness services, information and products via familiar technology, enabling people to better care for themselves and others. These technologies will include TV, mobile phones, games consoles, computers and tablets.

LiU Project Manager, Mary Sinclair, explained: “NHS Western Isles, in partnership with Comhairle colleagues, is currently recruiting 1,100 local participants to LIU to tell us about the technology they use in their daily lives.

“We want to establish any concerns or fears they may have about using technology, so that we can take that into consideration when designing and delivering new services which could potentially involve the use of technology. It’s essentially about maximising the potential of familiar and new technology.”

She continued: “Through the project, we will be developing solutions to issues, in terms of access to health or healthcare, identified by our participants, and will be looking at where technology solutions could be maximised to their full potential to resolve those issues.

“This is all about keeping people connected, which is key to avoiding isolation and the associated problems. The more input people have into developing new ideas and solutions; the better and more appropriate the solutions will be. Solutions will be designed to fit the lifestyles of the users - in their homes, communities or organisations - and will be attractive and usable.”

The Pop Up shop, at 36 Point Street in Stornoway, will open on June 17th, and this will be a central point where members of the local community can pop in and provide feedback, or test technology. The shop will be open Monday to Friday, and will be available during the summer.

“We would welcome anyone to drop-in to the shop to discuss their own thoughts about technology, whether these are concerns, benefits or questions. People are also welcome to come in and take advantage of some of the free activities we’ll be offering, such as different workshops and technology taster sessions, demonstrations of technology such as Skype and videoconferencing, and lessons on how to use more modern technology, such as tablets. We’ll even be offering an introduction to video production and other skills, and there will be various competitions and prizes throughout the summer.”

Mary added: “If access to transport, location, or any other issue makes it difficult or impossible for you to pop in, please let us know and we’ll find a way to ensure you can access the shop or we can bring the shop to you.”

Follow Living it Up in the Western Isles via the @NHSWI Twitter account (#popupLiU) or via the national Living it Up Twitter account (@Livingitup_Scot). Updates and news will also be available on the NHS Western Isles Facebook page www.facebook.com/NHSWesternIsles.