Digital skills

We want to help our residents to feel confident using computers and other devices like phones and tablets, so that they can do the things they want to do online.
Image: digital skills logo
We can offer support across various points of the year that can help you to use the devices you own to achieve what you want.

If you’re an Optivo resident and are interested in improving your computer and internet skills, then please let us know by completing our simple form (button below) or by calling 0800 121 60 60.

One of our team will then get in touch to discuss the options with you.

Contact us for support

Full-fibre broadband in your home

We’ve teamed up with broadband providers to equip all our homes with full-fibre broadband by April 2025.
Working together, we aim to obtain social value for our residents. This includes providing some homes 12 months’ free broadband.
Those eligible for the offer will receive a letter inviting you to participate.  

Digital support during the pandemic

Want to get online and don't know where to start? Looking for a new tool and don't know which one is best to use? We've put together some guidance to help you during this challenging time.

Health & wellbeing

At this time it’s important to keep your mental health in check. There are lots of really useful apps and support available online.


Mind provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. Mind campaigns to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.

image: Family on Skype

Every Mind Matters

Every Mind Matters is here to help you manage and maintain your mental health, as good mental health makes such a difference. It helps us to relax more, achieve more and enjoy our lives more.

We all go through ups and downs in life, and experience life changes that can affect our mental health.
Every Mind Matters gives you simple and practical advice to get a healthier mind and get more out of life – from how to deal with stress and anxiety, to boosting our mood or sleeping better.

It will help you spot the signs of common mental health conditions, get personalised practical self-care tips and information on further support. You'll also learn about what you can do to help others.


image: a family meditating


During this crisis, our mental health is suffering. Headspace is here to give you the tools and resources to look after your mind.

And now, more than ever, it’s time to support those who really need it. If you’re unemployed, you can get a free year of Headspace Plus to help you get back on your feet.



Calm’s mission is to make the world happier and healthier. Offering:
  • Learn the life-changing skill of meditation
  • Get more restful sleep and wake up feeling refreshed
  • Exclusive music to help you focus, relax, sleep
  • Video lessons on mindful movement and gentle stretching
  • Audio programs taught by world-renowned mindfulness experts
  • Nature scenes and sounds to enjoy while relaxing, sleeping, working or studying

At this time it’s important to keep your mental health in check. There are lots of really useful apps and support available online.


Audiobooks are a great way to relax and unwind while listening to your favourite stories, whether you’re relaxing at home or out on a walk.

There are a variety of audiobook apps available and many of them provide a number of free audiobooks. Here’s a few of them to get you started:  

Activity trackers

Activity trackers are a great ways of keeping track of your daily activities. Many of them track your steps, heart rate, calories, sleep and much more.

You can download them as an app on your smartphone or use a wearable device such as a smart watch and connect it to your smartphone.

It’s a great was to positively reinforce on what you’ve been up to.

Here are just a few of them:

  • Google Fit: Health and Activity Tracking (Android & iOS)
  • Health App (iOS)
  • Samsung Health (Android)
Smart watches
  • FitBit
  • Apple watch
  • Samsung watch
  • Garmin watch

NHS appointments online

Most GP surgeries, hospitals, mental health services and community care services are now making their appointments by phone or video calls.

This is where you speak to a doctor or healthcare professional using the video camera in your smartphone, tablet or computer.
This can save you time as you will not need to travel for a face-to-face appointment. It will help to stop infections spreading such as coronavirus (COVID-19).

If a GP, doctor or healthcare professional recommends you have a video call, you will get a text, email or letter with a date and time for the appointment.

What you need for a video consultation?

To have a video consultation you need:
  • A smartphone, tablet or computer that allows video calling – remember to make sure your microphone and camera are switched on.
  • An internet connection (broadband or mobile data).
  • A well-lit quiet and private space so the GP can see you clearly.
You will be advised in your text, email or letter what service the GP surgery, hospital or healthcare professional will be using to conduct the video call. This could be:
  • NHS Attend Anywhere
  • Skype
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Zoom

What happens during a video consultation?

A video call is very similar to a face-to-face appointment. You will get the same care.

The GP, doctor or healthcare professional will ask you questions about your health to work out the best treatment for you. You can also ask any questions you may have.

It might help to write down what they say, so you keep a record. Any notes will be added to your record after the call.

If you’re prescribed any medicine, the doctor or healthcare professional will give you advice on how to take it. They may talk to you about the best way of getting your prescription.

They can refer you if needed or give you any advice just as they would during a face-to-face appointment.
If your video call does not work or you do not have signal, they will try a phone call instead.

If this is not possible, you’ll be able to rebook your appointment.

NHS Fitness Studio

NHS Fitness Studio offers free online fitness videos, aerobics vidoes, strength and resistance videos, pilates and yoga videos and more.

Take your pick from 24 instructor-led videos across our aerobics exercise, strength and resistance, and pilates and yoga categories.

These workouts have been created by fitness experts InstructorLive and range from 10 to 45 minutes.

There are exercises to tone your abs, raise your heart rate, and tone your upper arms. You will also find workouts suitable for new mums, such as postnatal yoga, or health problems, such as pilates for back pain.
Plus, there's the Wake up! workout, Vinyasa flow yoga, and Belly dancing for beginners to get you moving.


Let’s Talk Loneliness

All of us can experience loneliness at some point in our lives. But research shows many of us don’t feel able to talk about it, as we’re worried that we’ll be judged in some way.

The #LetsTalkLoneliness campaign has been created to encourage everyone to start the conversation and say it’s OK to feel lonely and it’s okay to talk about it.

This website brings together organisations, resources and inspirational stories that are united in a shared aim, to get more people talking about loneliness.

It’s time we started talking about it.


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While we’re unable to physically meet up with our friends and family, using social media is a fantastic way to keep in contact with your loved ones and close friends.

Facebookimage: Facebook logo

Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.

Facebook is a social media platform where you can connect with friends, family and businesses. You can share posts, photos and videos with the people you’re connect with.



Google Meetimage: Google meet logo

Google Meet formerly Hangouts is a premium video meeting service free for everyone.

Google have re-engineered the service and made it free and available for all.

Google Meet uses the same protections that Google uses to secure your information and safeguard your privacy. All Google Meet video conferences are encrypted in transit, and their array of safety measures are continuously updated for added protection.


image: Instagram logoInstagram

Instagram is a photo and video sharing social media platform. You can share photos and videos with your friends, family, influencers and businesses.


WhatsAppimage: Whatsapp logo

WhatsApp is a free, secure and safe messaging and calling service for smartphones. You need a mobile number to use this service and it works using you mobile data or Wi-Fi connection.

With WhatsApp you can:
  • Chat with your contacts
  • Create group chats with friends and family
  • Share photos and videos
  • Make voice and video calls

image: facetime logoFaceTime

FaceTime is service only available to iPhone/iPad users. It’s a great way to video call with your contacts and speak to them face-to-face virtually.

image: facetime logoSkype

Skype offers free online calls, messaging, affordable international calling to mobiles or landlines and Skype for Business for effective collaboration.



image: zoom logoZoom

Zoom is a free online video conferencing software. It’s a great tool to use with your friends and family to do quiz nights or weekly calls in large groups. It allows you to also share your screen whilst in use.

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Learning new skills

Lockdown is a great time to learn a new skills and improve your job prospects. There are a number of free online courses available. So we’ve gathered a few of them here for you.


OpenLearn is the home of free learning from The Open University. Are you looking for a new topic to explore, or want to dig deeper into something you've already discovered? Whether it’s a 60-second animated video or a 24-hour course you are after, you will find it on OpenLearn for free.

Link: a woman learning

Google Digital Garage

Get new skills for a digital world. Learn at your own pace, with flexible and personalised training courses designed to build your confidence and help you thrive.
  • Discover tools to make your business succeed
  • Improve your interview skills
  • Prepare for the career you want

The Skills Toolkit

Want to learn a new skill while at home? You can find free, high quality digital and numeracy courses in The Skills Toolkit. 

Our Digital Inclusion Manager Nathalie explains more in this short video:

Digital and numeracy skills are amongst those that are most sought after by employers, and can help you progress in work and boost your job prospects. Digital skills can be anything from using social media and staying safe online to coding, programming or digital marketing.

You can choose from a selection of high quality courses put together in collaboration with experts. Find a level and time to study that’s right for you. The Skills Toolkit makes it easy for you to boost your skills.
Why improve your digital skills? Digital skills are valuable and sought after for all kinds of jobs.
  • 82% of all job vacancies require digital skills
  • Roles requiring digital skills pay 29% more than those that don’t
  • In recent years, the number of digital jobs grew almost three times as quickly as other occupations
We know lockdown has made life difficult for many of us, but if you can find the time, grab this opportunity to build up your existing skill set and discover new talents.

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Now is more important than ever to keep track of your money. We’re being encourage to make contactless transactions and avoid using cash wherever possible.

Online banking is a great, free and safe way of keeping an eye on your money without needing to visit a bank branch or waiting in phone queues.
If you’re worried about money there are a lot of great support services available.


Turn2us helps people in financial need gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help – online, by phone and face to face through our partner organisations.


image: a couple with money worriesStepChange

StepChange are a team of debt experts helping 650,000 people a year to deal with their debt problems. With 25 years' experience, you can be confident that StepChange can provide the advice and support you need to achieve long-term financial control.

StepChange offer free debt advice that is based on a comprehensive assessment of your situation. They'll then provide practical help and support for however long it’s needed.



Money Saving Expert

Martin Lewis has been at the forefront of providing financial advice throughout the pandemic.

His website is the UK's biggest consumer website, with about 16 million users a month.

The site's dedicated to cutting your bills and fighting your corner with journalistic research, cutting-edge tools and a massive community – all focused on finding deals, saving cash and campaigning for financial justice.


image: Whatsapp logoBenefits information available via WhatsApp

 People can now access the most up-to-date benefits and support information via their smart phones, using WhatsApp.

The service, which can be accessed by sending ‘Hi’ in a WhatsApp message to 07860 064 422, has been launched to help combat the spread of incorrect information and to make the correct information easily accessible.

The GOV.UK service currently has more than 312,000 unique users, and has sent more than 2.6 million messages since its launch on 25 March 2020.

DWP is one of the first government departments to provide information via the service which includes information on benefits support available, how to check if you are eligible and how to apply.

Money Advice Service

The spread of coronavirus, also called COVID-19, in the UK and across the world could have implications for your work, benefits and travel plans.

This guide will look at your rights to sick pay, what benefits you can claim if you’re self-employed or not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). This page will help you find out what help is available to you based on your circumstances.

  • Employed
  • Self employed
  • Your money
  • Car finance payments
  • Housing costs
  • Your bills
  • Coronavirus if you have children
  • Moving home
  • Travel insurance
  • Pensions
  • Scams



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image: a woman buying food onlineGrocery shopping

Shopping online has become a lifeline for many retailers and many consumers unable to get to the shops, or for those who are self isolating and vulnerable.

Online shopping is a great way of getting your essentials whilst limiting your risk of transmission to the coronavirus.

Many supermarkets have made more delivery slots available and are allowing new customers to register an account.

You can continue to collect your loyalty points with your online shop as you would do in store.
Here’s the link to the top supermarkets:

Retail shopping

Are you in need of some clothes, household items or gifts for someone’s upcoming birthday?

Many retailers are still operating online and taking orders. The shops on the high streets might be closed but you can still purchase an array of items online.

Many retailers are operating with reduced staff to make sure social distancing measures are met so you might find you have to wait slightly longer for your delivery to arrive.

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Technical help

Jargon busting

Don't know the difference between streaming, uploading and downloading? Don't worry!

Our Digital Inclusion Manager Nathalie explains all in this short video:

BT Tech Tips

BT have joined up with ITV and created Top Tips on Tech - a series of videos and guides to help you, your family and friends learn about different technologies and how to get the most out of them.

You can watch all their videos on the BT website. They are also running a series of special ad breaks every weekday on ITV, showing in the first break of This Morning and the central break of the ITV Evening News.


How to download apps

  1. Open the Google Play Store app image: Android play store icon (Note: you can also go to
  2. Search or browse for an app.
  3. Select an app.
  4. Tap Install (for free items) or the item's price.
  5. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the transaction and download the app.

  1. Open the App Store image: Apple App store icon
  2. Search or browse for an app.
  3. Select an app.
  4. Tap GET (for free items) or the item’s price.
  5. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the transaction and download the app.

How to scan documents using your phone camera

Apple -  How to scan documents on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch using the Notes app

You can scan documents and add a signature or manually sign a document on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch using the Notes app.

  1. Open a note or create a new note.
    1. Tap ​ , then tap Scan Documents.
  2. Place your document in view of the camera on your device.
  3. If your device is in Auto mode, your document will be automatically scanned. If you need to manually capture a scan, tap   or one of the Volume buttons.
  4. Drag the corners to adjust the scan to fit the page, then tap Keep Scan.
  5. You can add additional scans to the document or tap Save when you're done.

Learn how to use the Continuity Camera to scan notes from your iPhone or iPad to your Mac.

Android - Scan a document

  1. Open the Google Drive app   .
  2. In the bottom right, tap Add  .
  3. Tap Scan .

  4. Take a photo of the document you'd like to scan.
    > Adjust scan area: Tap Crop 
    > Take photo again..Tap Re-scan current page 
    > Scan another page: Tap Add 
  5. To save the finished document, tap Done  


How to sign a document on your phone (Apple device)

  1. Tap the document in the note
  2.  Tap  , then tap Markup.
  3. To add your signature, tap  , then tap Signature  . To manually sign your document, select a tool to use, then sign with your finger or an Apple Pencil with a compatible iPad.
  4. Tap Done.


How to speed your Wi-Fi

Disconnect any devices connected to your Wi-Fi when you’re not using them, such as games consoles, printers, smartphones and tablets. 

Converting PDF’s to Word documents

  • Save the PDF to your files
  • Find the PDF in your Folders
  • Right-click on the document
  • Select ‘Open with’
  • Select ‘Word’
  • Click ‘OK’
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Whilst children are at home its essential they keep up with their learning. There’s lots of resources available to keep up with your child’s education and also keep them occupied and entertained. Sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start, so we’ve pulled together some top resources for you:

image: a student studyingBBC Bitesize

BBC Bitesize offers new daily lessons in all topics for all ages across primary, secondary and post-16.

They also offer early years resources too to support your little ones with the early year’s development which they may be missing out on while nurseries are closed.

And they’ve put together a parent’s toolkit offering tips and practical advice for supporting your child’s wellbeing.


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Safety online

Online safety tips for children

Our Digital Inclusion Manager Nathalie gives her 5 top tips for keeping your kids safe online:

Internet Matters are a not-for-profit organisation that has a simple purpose – to empower parents and carers to keep children safe in the digital world.

They have a lots of helpful information about how to stay safe online such as:

  • Setting controls
  • Social media guides
  • School resources
  • How to set up devices safely
  • Online issues such as screen time & cyberbullying.

BBC Own It

BBC have developed a toolkit to empower life online called BBC Own It. They have real-life stories, advice from experts, fun quizzes, and videos with CBBC presenters, celebs, and star vloggers.

Meet the Own It Scottie Dogs, Will and Ainslie, who you can bet are at least as confused about the online world as you are.

If you need urgent support with something, their help and advice page will take you straight to charities and helplines. They have lots of information available, such as:

  • Five ways of wellbeing
  • Vlogging and gaming
  • Phone FOMO
  • Learning new skills
  • Taking control
  • Feeling under pressure
  • Staying safe
  • Bullying and trolling
  • Your online identity
  • Places to get help
  • Information for parents


YouTube kids

An app made just for children. YouTube Kids was created to give children a more contained environment that makes it simpler and more fun for them to explore on their own, and easier for parents and caregivers to guide their journey as they discover new and exciting interests along the way.

YouTube Kids App offers controls to:

  • Restricted searches
  • Set time limits
  • Set a password to ensure settings can only be changed by parents on the app.

Here’s a YouTube Kids parental control guide:

Download YouTube Kids here:


Zoom is a free online video conferencing software. It’s a great tool to use with your friends and family to do quiz nights or weekly calls in large groups. It allows you to also share your screen whilst in use.

But keeping safe on Zoom is also import, especially if you’re children are using it to keep up with their school work or chatting with friends.

Here’s a guide on how to set parental controls for your children on Zoom:

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