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.
The volunteers support people using smartphones, tablets, smart TV and laptops and pcs, some are novices and others just want help with a particularl problem.
“She has mastered texting, and I have left her practising her photographic techniques, she can also send photos to friends and family.” Volunteer
“I set up her Just Eat account but she was having trouble with 2 factor authentication. We have sorted this for her and processed her order, with the fish and chips arriving just as I was leaving.” Volunteer
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.
“It has been so helpful to me as K was happy to break things down into small pieces and go over them several times as needed”
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!”
Our monthly sessions at Market Harborough library are on the first Wednesday morning of each month and Lutterworth Library on the second Monday morning of the month but on 10th January MH and 15th January 2024 Lutterworth (updated December 2024). Appointments are available at other times, please call to arrange a convenient time.
We also make home visits, particularly if you are using a computer or it is difficult for you to get to the library.
The following information may be helpful, some of it developed in response to Covid-19 but still relevant.
Broadband Social Tarriffs
Social tariffs are cheaper broadband and phone packages for people claiming Universal Credit, Pension Credit and some other benefits. Some providers call them ‘essential’ or ‘basic’ broadband. The link takes you to the Ofcom list of providers.
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.
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
Available across Harborough District
Telephone 01858 439 262
Address: Community Champions, VASL, Torch House, Torch Way, Market Harborough, LE16 9HL