Clydebank's MSP is urging disabled people and those over the age of 55 to use a service which provides free help with computers, tablets and smartphones.

Gil Paterson said help available through AbilityNet could be a step towards ending isolation and loneliness.

The SNP MSP said: “The way we interact with one another is changing fast and technology and social media has an increasing role to play in connecting us with our friends and family.

“Isolation is a growing problem with more and more people, especially older people, feeling lonely on occasion. The link between loneliness and ill health has been proved and a lot of the blame for our increasing feelings of loneliness can be placed at the door of digital technology.

“So many opportunities for everyday social interaction have been lost with things like banks replacing tellers with ATMs, supermarkets replacing checkout staff with self-scan checkout and online ordering with click-and-collect delivery. Even our medication is increasingly ordered online.

“It is good to see that computers and smartphones etc can also provide solutions to the issue of loneliness so I would encourage people to make good use of this service. Technology races ahead these days so most of us could do with a little help to keep up.

“And it’s not just older people who could benefit from this, disabled people and, importantly, their employers, can get very valuable advice on adaptations for all kinds of technology.”

The AbilityNet charity has volunteers who are carefully selected and vetted and can help with most major computer systems, laptops, tablet devices and smartphones along with devices such as Alexia and any piece of technology.

They also offer advice about how computers can be adapted to meet the needs of disabled people and how to stay safe online and on social networks.

Appointments for an AbilityNet volunteer to visit your own home can be made on their website,, or by calling the free helpline on 0800 269 545.