When we were starting out, someone once said to me that older people weren’t interested in technology, well I’m glad I didnt listen!
The pictures you see are but 2 of 16 different sessions we ran last week – a quiet week as we are already seeing people starting to peel off before the Summer.
Our programme consists of a range of Digital Drops-Ins, Workshops, Online Services Support, Community Learning courses and our online Digital Awareness social group. We also provide critical support in the home and dedicated work with disabled residents and others with access needs.
We directly helped over 500 local residents on 2022, across a mere 5 square miles in South London. Its only July and we have already exceeded this figure demonstrating both the need and the role the voluntary sector already plays in this area.
This is no surprise to us working on the ground but to broker trust, build confidence and provide access to services to the communities least able to or furthest away then you have to go out there.
Our work demonstrates, over and above anything else, that engagement is key and with engagement you can spark motivation and build confidence.
When reading reports such as the recent one written by the Communications and Digital Committee on digital exclusion and the findings from GetOnLineLondon and in Greater Manchester we must remember that an equal component in change is from within ourselves – and for that we must have a reason to engage, to learn and we must build upon quick wins we can do for ourselves.
If we feel coerced or that all this digital stuff is for someone else’s benefit or cost savings its no surprise there is resistance. When ‘technologies’ such as Test and Trace or the Emergency Alert are rolled out with poor communication or do not work its even harder to bridge this gap.
If people are ‘going digital’ for the first time at the point if crisis it should be no surprise that passwords get lost, vouchers are not claimed or that claim appeals go in late to the DWP.
The community building and outreach work we do is so crucial is helping to understand places, space and people, from here we have fighting chance of helping change happen.