In my professional & private life, the Covid 19 pandemic has illustrated just how vulnerable we all are in our lack of understanding of the internet & how harnessing the power of Full Fibre 5G digital/broadband /wifi can help to provide solutions to many underlying health/ social care/safeguarding issues.

I am Clerk to eleven Almshouse Charities in the North East Essex area based on Colchester & Trustee to a further 14 Almshouse Charities in Essex & Hertfordshire. The Charities provide independent living to , mostly , older & vulnerable people and some with learning disabilities. The Charities are responsible for the provision of good , safe accommodation but not for personal care where residents must look to the statutory care providers, The Charities have responsibilities regarding “safeguarding”. This concern caused me to commission a straw poll of residents which showed, worryingly, that only 50% had access to the internet. All central & local government detail of regulation and advice assumes access being available to all by the internet. Cost of provision of access to broadband & mobile phones is prohibitive to many. The satisfactory access to suitable broadband is not available.

In private life, one has become aware of the plight of neighbours , many older people, many vulnerable, living on their own with distant family support or none. This generation include many whom the digital/broadband/wifi generation has bypassed; they are equally disadvantaged as my social housing clients.

In education, children are being offered laptops & notepads for on line lessons; do they have the digital/broadband/wifi technology at home for connectivity?




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