With the clear issue of social isolation becoming a reality during the Coronavirus crisis the NCCF asked  BH Associates to come up with ideas to help combat it within our beneficiary community.

Working together we quickly identified that promoting the use of video chat technology is one of the most effective ways we could combat the enforced isolation being felt during this pandemic. We also identified easy access to official news services and access to further support from the NCCF. Because the key to the project was communication we chose the name Conversa which is a play on conversation and also means ‘talk’ in Portuguese.

Any UK Based member of the British Nuclear Community can apply for a Conversa pad during the Coronavirus crisis. Following a few basic checks, we will courier their pad to them. Once the crisis is passed they will be given the option to keep the pad for a small fee or return it to us.

There are two versions of the Conversa pad; one which operates on mobile data so can be used wherever there is no wifi available, the other version will run on your home wifi. The mobile data version of Conversa is much more expensive for the charity to supply so if you do have wifi access we would ask that you only request the wifi one.

From the Conversa pad you can easily call family and friends to chat with them, either using audio or with full video and the 10-inch screen ensures that you have a great view of your call. We have simplified the operation of the application and a comprehensive guide is also included in the package.

The Conversa system doesn’t stop there you have special access to Exposure magazine online giving you all the great articles in a compact easy to read format. We have also linked all the essential Government and National Health Service portals so you can access essential information throughout the crisis.

Through the pad you will also have your own dedicated email address and access to a whole range of android apps like the BBC iplayer & the ITV Hub. Our final feature is the ability to make a request for Care Wellbeing and Inclusion support direct to the NCCF through the Conversa pad. Providing you advise us of audio, visual or dexterity issues before we send your Conversa pad out, we can produce a tailored setup implementing the accessibility features to make using your Conversa even easier.

The EE network, which we will use to provide mobile data, is well established and provides excellent coverage across most of the country. Where people do not have wifi access we are able to check the EE mobile data availability at their location as there may be the odd case where we could not connect the pad to the internet. 

To get a Conversa pad all you need to do is complete a simple application form online or contact by post o request a Conversa pad application form by sending your name and address to: NCCF, PO Box 8244, Castle Donington DE74 2BY or call 0115 8883442 and leave your contact details on the answering service.

BH Associates write about creating Conversa

The first part of the project was to test and review the most common communication applications available at the moment, we looked at accessibility, performance, popularity and potential ease of use amongst the NCCF beneficiary demographic. From this we were able to identify a number of preferred options.

Conversa Tablet
Conversa Logo

We also turned this research into the guide article published in this edition under ‘Its Good to Talk’ so that people who already have access to the equipment needed could get themselves up and chatting.

We decided that the Google Hangouts system addressed our prerequisites better than the others and proceeded to review devices upon which it could be installed and operated with ease. In selecting a specific device to run the Hangouts application we are able to set each one up customised to the needs of the beneficiary to make use as simple as possible.

Whilst home broadband and wifi is the best option for getting online and video chatting we are aware that not all beneficiaries have access to this.  To solve the problem we ensured the devices used had the capability to access mobile data the same way that modern smartphones do. Access to mobile data can be expensive and video calling uses a lot of data. We have negotiated a special deal that gives us access to mobile data through EE with a 50% discount. With the inclusion of mobile data access to the Conversa pad, a new opportunity was presented and we were also able to add the multi-format communication platform WhatsApp to the devices along with the traditional mobile phone abilities. This provides further options for communicating with friends and family.

Our final task was to bundle this all into a user-friendly package that we could update and maintain without the need for users to do anything. Our hope is that we can use Conversa pads long after the Coronavirus crisis is over, increasing inclusion and enhance wellbeing within the British Nuclear Community.