Digital Volunteers

Digital Volunteers

Technology enables us all to connect with people around the world 24/7, access information, join groups, download music and watch TV programmes. Community Champions helps give older people equal opportunities to enjoy the benefits of digital inclusion.

“Last week I helped him contact his daughter in Australia by Skype. I met her when she was over at Christmas. She rang when I was visiting. He mentioned that I was there so she asked if I could help him Skype her. I did and left them both chatting away on the Skype video link. This week when I visited, he told me he has now Skyped his son in New Zealand.”

Sometimes the volunteers visit a couple of times to refresh the client’s memory or to show them a new programme. Other times they begin with how to switch on the machine and it may take a number of weeks to cover the basics. Every client is different and works at their own pace.

Digital Volunteers have additional training, which looks at the way that people learn, how to stay safe online, the popular programmes and applications people use, and boundaries.

“Using my laptop enables me to bank online, to use the doctor’s practice website, keep in touch with friends and explore my family history – it’s amazing!”

While we are unable to visit people in their homes or run our popular library sessions at present, we are able to offer some limited help over the telephone, please get in touch and explain your problem, we will see what we can do to help.

We have been able to help people to join zoom, which allows them to join our monthly gathering and the volunteers also run ‘mini zooms’ to allow people to get their confidence with two or three others before joining the large group.

The following information may be helpful, some of it developed in response to Covid-19

Helping older people making the most of the internet
A series of written articles from Age UK which can help you to develop your skills.

Coronavirus: How can we stay in virtual touch with older relatives?
A written article from the BBC about devices which allow video calling.

Installing and using Zoom, two – useful videos from People in Action
If you want to use a phone or a tablet for zoom
If you want to use a computer for zoom

The Royal Voluntary Service – Virtual Village Hall
Has excellent resources to help you to improve your skills in many areas, the videos around technology have been prepared by AbilityNet and are very helpful.

Devices designed for older users.

They will all need to connect to the internet by 4G (connects mobile phones and can used with tablets) or a wireless internet connection.
You will need to shop around as prices for devices and internet vary considerably.
Doro produces mobile and smartphones with a simple layout which is accessible for people with sight, hearing or sensory issues.
Facebook portal allows video calls from facebook messenger or whatsapp on a tablet or phone. Recipient must answer the call (tap a button on screen) – better for privacy but could be a problem for some people.  The picture and microphone quality are excellent.
Amazon Echo Show the other person needs the Alexa App, no need to answer call, but it comes with a shutter to prevent people watching you without permission, which has to be put into place manually.  It does many more things so may not be as simple to operate, but there is a basic option which is probably one of the cheaper solutions.
Komp is a one button computer which doesn’t use a touch screen, the other person has to download an app.  You can’t start a call with Komp and it connects automatically so needs to be switched off for privacy.  It is one of the more expensive devices, but it is possible to rent rather than buy.

There are new devices joining the market as there is such a demand for simple ways to stay in touch.

You will need to do some research before you buy. 

Contact Community Champions

Telephone 01858 439 262
Email champions@vasl.org.uk
Address: Community Champions, VASL, Torch House, Torch Way, Market Harborough, LE16 9HL