service user using an I-pad in Gregory Court

Jackie was born with cerebral palsy and has epilepsy. She is profoundly physically disabled and requires lifelong care, and is now 45 years old. Jackie grew up in the Nottingham area and was initially cared for at home. In 1997 she moved to Gregory Court in Nottingham, a service operated by The Disabilities Trust, a leading national charity providing quality care and support for people with complex and challenging disabilities. Gregory Court is a purpose built residential centre, providing accommodation and support for people with a range of disabilities.

Jackie has always been a very sociable lady, and for 17 years she regularly attended a local day resource centre in Nottingham. Many of her old school friends also went to the centre, and this was always the one place she could get to see them all. However, due to ongoing cut backs in funding Jackie lost her place at the day centre last year, and Jackie was left devastated.

Katie Deedes, Service Manager at Gregory Court, said: "Jackie was quite amazed and very upset, when talking to her she said she was so sad to loose her friends she had been with throughout her life, and really seemed to loose her sense of direction."

Jackie has always loved to read, but because of her physical disabilities she has had great difficulty in turning pages and even keeping a book in place. She is unable to use a mouse or computer touch pad. The Disabilities Trust is increasingly investing in assistive technology for it's services across the UK. Katie talked to Jackie about what could be done to help, and Jackie decided that she would like a Kindle Fire to help her to read. This was purchased, apps were added to it, including Facebook, and the results have literally been life transforming!

Through the use of Facebook, Jackie has discovered a part of her family that she never knew existed! She is also now connected to many of the friends she thought she had lost after spending years together. The touch screen and stylus for her e-reader has meant that Jackie can now easily turn pages and communicate with her contacts. She now has access to puzzles, shopping, music, social media, all through one device. It has opened up new possibilities for her, as well as independence.

As a result with getting in touch with family member Jackie had not spoken to for a while, she was invited to a family event where she was openly welcomed and met her step family she never knew about. She now has weekly visits from members of her new family.

Jackie said: "My Kindle is amazing, it has opened new doors for me and given me independence, and a new family!"