Since 1972 when Dr Margaret Blackwood founded the organisation, Blackwood Homes and Care has been dedicated to improving the lives of people who have disabilities and ensuring that we create the best possible circumstances to enable that.


As regulars on bespoken will know, Blackwood is in the process of trialling and developing our digitally enhanced care system Clever Cogs. We’ve shared a few updates along the way about the project, how it works and what it is designed to do. This week however we’re taking a more personal approach. On a recent visit to Broom Court in Stirling, we spoke to Mandy who is a resident there. She spoke to us about the positive impact Clever Cogs is having on her life.


Mandy’s story

Whereas some residents may have taken more time to adjust to their new device for Mandy it was an instant success. “I liked it at once” she’s only too happy to declare. Early on, Mandy found that she had a little difficulty using the touch screen, but following a conversation with Blackwood’s Digital Skills Trainer, he offered her a selection of stylus pens to try out. Since then she’s been getting on like a house on fire, saying “as long as I’ve got the pencil, it’s easy”.

And far from being a purely care orientated device Mandy uses some of the other more personalised aspects of her touch screen. “I like listening to music. I listen to Sam Smith and Daniel O’Donnell.” Yvonne, a support worker at Broom Court, first put Mandy onto Sam Smith by playing the latest James Bond theme and Mandy went straight to Blackwood staff who manage Clever Cogs to ask for it to be added to her playlist.


Leisure can be a big part of Clever Cogs, and the user can have all sorts of personalisations made. There are a number of games already installed on Clever Cogs that Mandy enjoys. “I play Mah-jong all the time” she says, and is only too happy to give a demonstration, before showing us the bowling game which has also proved popular among residents.


Mandy has also been using the video chat function on her device. “I spoke to my sister” she goes on to explain. Approved contacts only can be added to the Clever Cogs unit, ensuring the safety of the user. This easy contact between residents and their friends and family is something that is valued by many guests.


A helping hand

On top of her own very active participation in the Clever Cogs trials, Mandy has been helping some other residents learn to use their personal device.

Aileen is by her own admission, less of a natural when it comes to technology. She uses certain aspects of Clever Cogs but has remained a little sceptical. However with Mandy’s help, Aileen finds that she is familiarising herself more and more with Clever Cogs and slowly learning.


Mandy has become a regular and popular visitor to the training room at Broom Court where the team who manage and run Clever Cogs have set up their onsite work space. Shawn More who has been training staff and volunteers to use Clever Cogs is full of praise for Mandy’s enthusiasm:


“Mandy has really championed Clever Cogs in Broom Court Stirling and frequently visits the project team to put in personalisation requests. She has mastered the use of her device very quickly to the extent she now tutors other residents on using the system. It really goes to show the difference Clever Cogs makes to social inclusion and relations amongst our residents!”


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Read about Clever Clogs and more by selecting the links below!

Clever Cogs: What's the story at Broom Court, Stirling?

Clever Cogs; Blackwood’s innovative care system begins trials in Dundee!

Sometimes it’s the small things: Assistive Technology at Raeden Court

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