A mother and daughter stand in their front garden facing the camera and smiling. The young daughter is holding a silver laptop.
Amel Kebladj
Wednesday 10th February 2021 - 09:37

Getting connected

Amel Kebladj has been a Phoenix tenant since 2017 and lives in Downham with her husband and three children. Amel received a new laptop from our Connected Together programme which has helped with daily life, and she encourages other residents to apply for a digital device.

With three children, two in primary school and one in secondary, there’s a lot of homework to be done. With everything online these days, the kids need a digital device for their homework. We do have a laptop but it’s very old and takes about 20 minutes to boot. Once you finally get it up and running, there’s a flood of error messages so it’s not really usable anymore.

My eldest has her own smartphone, which she uses for homework and my younger two use mine or their Dad’s smartphone, but it’s not ideal. They can use the internet for research but when it comes to online lessons, writing or creating projects, the phones just don’t cut it.

With Zoom and Microsoft Teams lessons, I wanted to get a new device for the kids to use, especially as my daughter needs Microsoft Word and PowerPoint more and more. But during the first lockdown, my fridge and washing machine broke, so I had to prioritise buying those essential appliances over a new laptop.

By the time summer came, the kids were really fed up with not having the right or necessary equipment. As with each year, we were looking forward to the Phoenix Festival, only this year it didn’t happen due to the lockdown. Instead, Phoenix ran online workshops as part of Summer Fun. As I was signing the kids up for the workshops on the website, I read that we’d need a digital device to join the workshops. This made my heart sink as I knew the phones wouldn’t be enough.

Then I saw a link to the Connected Together Programme which gives Phoenix residents devices to keep families and friends connected, not only to the internet, but to each other.

I followed the link and read about the programme, which would be a massive help to my family, all that was left to do was apply! I sent an email explaining our situation and why we urgently needed a device. Not long after I received a call from Amy from the Connected Together Programme and completed a simple form over the phone.

A few weeks later, we received a shiny new Chromebook laptop. My eldest couldn’t contain her excitement; she was very happy! She’s made her siblings understand that it’s her laptop and they can’t touch it without her permission.

With the new laptop, not only were we able to take part in the Summer Fun workshops, but it’s been much easier for my daughter to do her homework, online learning and of course, gaming. Previously she could blame not doing her homework on her smartphone, but that excuse has gone out of the window. Thank you Phoenix!

If you’re isolated or in need of a new device, but can’t afford to buy one, I’d really recommend getting in touch with the Connected Together Programme. It was a really quick and easy process to get the device, and it’s been such a big help having the new laptop!

You can find out more about our Connected Together Programme here on our website or by contacting us.

Phoenix Community Housing would like to thank our donors Gunfire Passive Fire Protection, Libra Construction Services and Fleet Mobile for their generous donations. These donations have helped us to support residents with digital devices. If you would like to be a donor organisation, please get in touch.