At the beginning of the month Inside Time journalist Rachel Billington, participated in a Purple Visits secure video call with a resident at HMP Berwyn, before writing about her experience.

During the piece, she talks through her direct experience, as well as the feedback and feelings from the resident she spoke to at HMP Berwyn, “Al’.

Read the original article here.

Al became a resident at HMP Berwyn in 2013, and in the 7 years he has been away from his family there has been a few changes.  The largest change being that the family have moved house, and his children, now 12 and 13, were very keen to show their dad the new house, the garden, and their fresh new bedrooms, an opportunity which wouldn’t usually present itself, even without the restrictions currently imposed due to the pandemic.

Al also talks about the joy of seeing his beloved pet dog.  The heart-warming story of special pets being seen on screen, and giving a glimmer of warmth to an isolated resident is familiar throughout much of the feedback we receive at Purple Visits.

We are delighted that the ease of setting up the app is documented by Rachel.  We understand that the idea of setting up a Purple Visits account, and using the platform to have a video call, may seem scary at first if you are not as tech savvy as some, but we have made sure that there is an excellent team of people there for you on the live support, who are ready and waiting to assist you, 7 days a week.  We provide lots of answers to commonly asked questions on our website, and throughout our social media platforms, but if you can’t find what you are looking for, the live support are there!

Throughout this past 12 months of restrictions, the software itself has changed and developed.  All the feedback is gratefully received.  There is a large gap which video calling needs to fill, more so during this time of restrictions, but the most important thing is that Purple Visits works for families, and gives each family the service they require.  Be that showing off the Guinea pig, reading a bedtime story, watching toddlers take their first steps, or enabling elderly, or unwell relatives to see the face of a loved one for a little comfort and peace of mind.

The key factor that both Rachel and Al have highlighted is the place that Purple Visits has within the bigger picture of human connections and family ties.  The intention was never there to replace the vital social visits.  The effect a hug from a loved one can have is something that will never be replaced by an app.  However, Purple Visits can help to fill a space, and bridge a gap.

The restrictions put in place over the past 12 months have been heart wrenching for families and residents alike.  Those families who would regularly visit loved ones at establishments throughout the uk were suddenly told that this would no longer be possible.  All social contact was stopped. 

Unfortunately, away from the restrictions bought in by the pandemic, there is also an entire community of people who are unable to visit on such a regular basis.  A population of people who have loved ones in establishments hundreds of miles away from the family home.

Young children, Illness, cost, and age are all factors, amongst others, which may contribute to the ability to see a loved one face to face on a regular basis.  Purple Visits secure video calls can fill that gap, and ensure that visual contact is maintained, alongside social visits.