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Keeping military families connected


The Royal Naval Association (RNA) has kindly donated Apple iPads to the Navy veterans and partners who live at The Royal Star & Garter Homes. The donation was funded by the Aged Veterans Fund and named Project Semaphore: an initiative set up by the RNA to improve communications for aged Naval veterans.


The custom built 16GB iPad Airs were presented in bespoke RNA-branded protective cases and came pre-loaded with relevant apps. Sarah Clewes, Deputy Project Manager for Project Semaphore, visited the Homes to meet the veterans and give them their computer tablets.


Residents were thrilled to receive their iPads, with many citing how they were looking forward to using it to keep in touch with family. One such resident is Glynne, who commented, “I am absolutely over the moon, I can’t believe it’s for me.”


Others were excited about demonstrating their newly acquired skills to their families. Veteran Joan couldn’t wait to get to grips with her iPad. She quipped, “I am absolutely thrilled to bits, I really appreciate it. You know the saying, ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’? Well I’m going to give it a damn good go!”


As part of the scheme, the RNA provide training for volunteers and fellow Shipmates to offer one-to-one help and support to enable veterans to make the most of the technology available to them. Staff and volunteers from both Homes have completed the course and will work closely with residents to ensure they have a positive user experience.


Sarah Clewes described the benefits of Project Semaphore perfectly by remarking, “To know that by providing the right content and support network we are helping contribute to a resident’s personal development and helping to keep families and loved ones connected. That’s what I love about the project.”