Chris smiling

Chris’ story - Creating his own connections

Describing himself as having a jolly personality, Chris loves to be sociable, make people around him laugh and enjoy each day as fully as possible. He doesn’t allow the fact he was born without sight to stop him being active and he embraces different activities and new opportunities whenever possible. 

Whether it’s tandem biking, shopping, or listening to music requested from ‘Alexa’, Chris approaches life with a smile. 

It’s important for Chris to feel connected and as independent as possible. So when we started our Creating Connections digital inclusion programme, aimed at supporting people like Chris to learn new digital skills, he was keen to get involved. 

By chance Chris already knew the Creating Connections Digital Inclusion Officer, Joe, as he had been part of the interview panel for Joe’s first job at SeeAbility. Chris leapt at the opportunity to ask Joe to help him buy, set up and make the most of a smartphone’s features. 

Chris told us that if something were to happen while he was out and about, he needs to know how to get hold of people. The only phone he had access to previously was a landline, but that meant Chris had to remember as many phone numbers as possible, or ask support staff to find a contact in one of his extremely full address books. He knew a smartphone would really boost his independence. 

Once they had come up with a plan, Joe and Chris ventured down to the local phone shop together to explore what options may be available. After a conversation with a sales assistant, Chris decided on a phone he’d like to buy. Since buying his smartphone, Joe has spent time coaching Chris and supporting him to develop his skills. A few weeks on, Chris is already using the Google Assistant to navigate the phone, add contacts, get the news, set alarms and more. 

The device has also enabled him to reconnect with someone he hadn’t spoken to for decades. One of the first phone calls he made was to an old school friend who recently moved into a new home set up by SeeAbility in Redhill, just a few miles down the road! It’s clear that the phone is already enhancing Chris’s day-to-day life, giving him the chance to be even more sociable and connected than before. 

"I have wanted to have a phone with all of my contacts for a really long time, I am glad it has finally happened." – Chris