A lack of access to technology is making life harder for some Burnaby residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
That’s why the Burnaby Primary Care Networks’ COVID-19 Response Strategy quickly formed a technology working group, which identified where the greatest needs were and began to get tech out to some of the community’s most vulnerable citizens so they can access health information.
To date, more than 120 phones and tablets and 1,200 laptops and desktops have been put in the hands of the people in Burnaby who need them.
“It’s been amazing to see how all of the organizations have come together,” said Jeff Malmgren of the Burnaby PCN. “They’ve been able to identify who needs what, where the need is the greatest and how to get the tech they need to them as quickly as possible.”
Getting them there is only half the battle.
Burnaby’s social agencies, who have all had to switch everything they offer from in-person to online, have necessarily become tech support for their clients – some of whom have never been online before, far less “Zoomed” with others.
With the help of the Burnaby Public Library’s telephone tech support and online training video collection, and Burnaby Neighbourhood House’s digital literacy program, which is building training and videos in multiple languages for agency staff as well as the public, a broad network of support has been put in place. For seniors, literacy challenged, non-English speaking and others, the help is there to get connected.
"All of the agencies are working to keep in touch with their clients, and offer any programs they can online,” said Malmgren. “But people need to know how to use it, some for the first time. Sometimes it takes hours on the phone to get them up and running.”
So, how can you help?
If you have an old cell phone, tablet or laptop, Digital Access Burnaby will distribute your donated device to those in need through local non-profits and social service agencies.
Visit this site to learn how to clean your device of your personal information:
Donate Cell Phones and Tablets here:
Burnaby Neighbourhood House (North) – contact email@example.com or 604–294-5444 before dropping off.
Burnaby Neighbourhood House (South) – contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-431-0400 before dropping off.
Drop off in person at the front door of Edmonds Community School, 7651 18th Ave., Burnaby on Mondays or Fridays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. or call 604-296-9012.
Donate old computers and lap tops here: BC Tech for Learning – call 604-294-6886 ext. 3 or DonorRelations@reusetechbc.ca.
If you are looking for COVID-19 information, go to www.burnabycoronavirus.com.