Project Semaphore, a Royal Naval Association (RNA) initiative, continues to go from strength to strength. Whilst providing iPads for RN and RM Veterans, this is not an IT Project but an initiative that brings people together and builds communities. Mindful that many Veterans have a fear of technology, they feel overwhelmed at the idea of learning new skills, worry about their personal security and need help and support to realise the benefits of the financial savings offered online. Whilst an iPad is ideal, as it is lightweight and portable, they fear of breaking it by pushing the wrong button and therefore the support of our dedicated (and very patient!) Volunteers has been key to provide reassurance and encouragement.
We are delighted to have reached over 400 Veterans who are now exploring the Internet for the first time. Age is not a barrier to learning new skills, having access to the Internet changes lives and addresses social isolation:
A Shipmate aged 93: I continue my limited experience in E mail finding it most interesting & helpful in keeping in touch with friends & relations abroad & in this country. I have occasionally tried Facetime. I have learned more skills using the I pad as a camera & a storage place for pictures. I catch up with T.V. programs I have missed & try to keep up to date with the local & national news. I am very grateful for being given this opportunity to express my appreciation please convey my thanks.
The I-pad is a godsend for me, on New Year’s Day, put a message on Raleigh page and had 248 responses. I talk to an old buddy every day, he is 86 I am a young sprig I am only 83. I also read the news from RNA Central Office.
I use my iPad to read the News online, use Facebook, use YouTube to watch the Royal Marines band. I also use it to make friends on the over 60s friendship group.
Our thanks to a number of charities, associations and organisations who have embraced the opportunity to collaborate with the RNA and include RNRMC, Greenwich Hospital, the Royal Navy’s Chaplain of the Fleet, Scottish War Blinded, Royal British Legion Industries, The Royal Star and Garter Homes, Pembroke House (RNBT), SSAFA, Sea Cadets, Association of Wrens, The Royal Marines Association, CESSAC Housing Association, The Fleet Air Arm Association, Navy News, Royal Naval Reserves, The Merchant Navy Association, WRNS BT, Bulwark, Albion & Centaur Association as well as numerous RNA Branches who have promoted the Project, hosted Workshops and presentations.
A recent Project variation offers the opportunity to reach RAF and Army Veterans, aged over 65 who do not have regular access to the Internet: we look forward to working alongside the RAFBF and ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.