by Helen James

We have created a list of some online platforms, some information about them and links to tutorials for each, to help us all stay connected during this time.

Zoom is a cloud-based video service you can use to virtually meet with friends/family/co-workers – either by video, audio or both and it has a chat function too. You will need wifi or phone network to use it.

Some features include:

One-to-One: Zoom calls – unlimited even with the free plan.

Group video: The free plan allows you to host video conferences of up to 40 minutes and up to 100 participants

Screen sharing: Share your screen with others so they can see what you see. 

The desktop app is available for Windows and macOS, while the mobile app is available for Android and iOS via the app stores.

You can see how Zoom works and how to get set up here:

Image description: Illustrated image of a bedroom that includes a single bed with a purple and white duvet cover, a bedside table with a lamp and two doors beside the bed, an orange and purple rug, a poster of a man on the wall above the bed that is purple, blue, white and orange themed, a window with a cactus plant in pot, a dresser with a lamp that is on and on the other side of the dresser is a photo frame with two people


Very much like Zoom, Skype is a video, audio and text communication app. Skype is owned and developed by Microsoft and allows you to video call multiple users at the same time, and record your video calls if needed.

For anyone that needs subtitles, Skype now supports live subtitles for increased accessibility. Just turn on live subtitles, and Skype will drop them onto the video conversation itself.

All of these features are available for free, but there are other things you can do if you’re willing to pay. You can see these here

Download Skype here

You’ll find a really useful Skype video call tutorial here:

Houseparty App

Houseparty is an app that allows you to speak face-to-face with friends and family (upto 4 people can be on a call at one time). The app also comes with games that can be played together and allows you to connect it to your Facebook/Snapchat, to see who else might have it that you know.

You can download the app on an iPhone or android mobile. A google chrome extension and an app for mac/PC computers has recently been added too. Houseparty is free to use and free to join up. There are some in-app purchases available (additional games), but they’re not a requirement.

There have been rumours circulating online that Houseparty is unsafe to use. With people spreading the news that the app is related to personal information hacks including bank accounts, Spotify and Netflix accounts and more. There’s nothing currently to support this. The company has also made it clear that no accounts have been compromised and all data is safe.

Download Houseparty here

This is a great tutorial to set you up on Houseparty:

Image description: Illustrated image of a white and tanned dog laying on the floor, all paws up, ready for a belly rub. The dogs looks happy and content with it’s eyes closed and mouth slightly open.


Discord is a free app, similar to programs like Skype and Slack. It’s geared specifically towards video game players.
Discord provides users with ways to find other gamers, coordinate online games, and talk whilst playing video games. It provides video calls, voice chat, and instant messaging.

Discord is available as a download to Mac/PC and an app for smart phones. It is also available as a web-based version, which saves space on your computer to allow video games to run more efficiently alongside the app.

You can download Discord here

Here’s a really informative tutorial for how to set up Discord:

We want to keep connected with you. Please check out all the online events we have running here:

If you need support 121, we have a telephone support line. Details are below:

Illustrations commissioned by: James Fox