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Ceredigion Association of Voluntary Organisations
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Keep Communities Connected – Virtually

Since the Coronavirus crisis began many Community Groups would meet regularly and keep in touch face to face. The message is now that we stay safe and stay at home, it is of course vital that we follow these rules to keep ourselves and each other safe and well. However, we all need social interaction and during this time of social distancing and staying in it is more important than ever before. Fortunately, there are various ways that you can stay connected and you don’t have to let your regular meetings and interactions end, there are also many ways in which you can keep up connections with your friends and family too.

If you run a community group, weekly class or informal book club, it is worth considering taking your group online.

Many people are now setting up “virtual Community Groups” to keep communities connected. There are lots of different platforms you could use. You would just need to decide with members of your group which one you would all like to use. Platforms like Zoom, Google Hangout, WhatsApp and Skype are great ways to bring groups of people together to continue meeting and catching up with each other formally or informally.

Many people will already be familiar with these platforms, but some may not have used them before. If you have members of your group who aren’t used to using smart phones, tablets or computers, maybe think about someone in your group and contact them to talk them through the process.

We have put together a few step by step “How to” guides for some of the most popular platforms:

WhatsApp – this digital app, mainly used on smartphones, allows users to send text messages and voice messages, make voice and video calls, and share images, documents, user locations, and other media.

Zoom – this is one of the most popular free software applications worldwide. It is used for telecommuting, distance education, and social relations, many people use it for business conferences but it can also be used to catch up with family and friends, it is free to use for up to 40 minutes at a time.

Google Hangouts – Hangouts allows conversations between two or more users. The service can be accessed online through the Gmail or Google+ websites, or through mobile apps available for Android and iOS.

Skype – This is a telecommunications application that specializes in providing video chat and voice calls between computers, tablets, mobile devices, the Xbox One console, and smartwatches over the Internet. Skype also provides instant messaging services. Users may transmit text, video, audio and images.

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