Older People (Lockdown Restrictions)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 14th January 2021.

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Photo of Christina McKelvie Christina McKelvie Scottish National Party

I am delighted to confirm that I am meeting representatives of Outside the Box and the digital buddies project on 19 January, which I look forward to.

Christine Grahame’s question touched on the work that we do through the connecting Scotland programme. The digital buddies in her constituency are not the only ones to do such work—a lot is being done elsewhere. For example, Anne and Christine from Outside the Box have ensured that their group of older people have embraced getting online, which can sometimes be a bit scary. The digital buddies project has allowed practical support to be delivered despite the restrictions on meeting people.

If you do not mind, Presiding Officer, I would like to read a couple of quotations from people who have taken part in the project. People have said:

“It’s been amazing, I haven’t been able to see my grandsons much for the last 9 months, now we video call every week, I just love it.”

“I hadn’t been able to go to the community council meetings since lockdown started, it was great to be able to take part again.”

“My sister lives in America, with help from my digital buddy we had a video call … It was the first time I had seen her in 10 years. It was brilliant and very emotional.”

I do not think that any of us could say that those comments are not evidence of transformational change. My thanks go to Outside the Box, which I look forward to visiting next week.

As Christine Grahame knows, members of the older people’s strategic action forum will certainly keep me on my toes, too. I look forward to continuing our work in the area.