Finalist category: Digital Volunteer of the Year Award
Digital Volunteer of the Year, Finalist, 2018
Volunteering for sight loss charity Visibility’s Digital Project.
Graham has volunteered for sight loss charity, Visibility, for several years and has been part of the team delivering their Digital Project across 13 local authorities for the last year.
Through the project, Graham, who has a visual impairment called Retinitis Pigmentosa and travels with a guide dog, provided one-to-one training to people living across the west of Scotland who have sight loss. The goal was to teach people with a visual impairment to learn and develop their digital skills on mobile technology such as tablets and smartphones.
The project involved personalised one-to-one sessions, community group sessions, and representing the project/charity at relevant open days to encourage more referrals and speak to the public about accessible technology. Demonstrating the accessibility features on devices to service users has proved to be life-changing for Graham’s clients. It is a vital skill for anyone with a visual impairment in order to access the wider digital world, and be able to do things that the sighted population take for granted such as making a call, sending a text or reading a webpage.
One of Graham’s clients, Neville, age 82 says:
He’s a technology guru, this man! I’m taking in everything Graham’s saying today and if I can be half as knowledgeable as him then I’m onto a winner with my iPad and my Amazon echo!”
Graham work has benefited over 158 service users, and the impact this has on people living with sight loss is immeasurable; being connected, retaining independence and increasing the person’s confidence. Accessible technology and apps in particular are always changing and evolving and Graham prides himself on keeping up to date with any new releases and information that may help. His approachable manner puts people at ease and his passion and enthusiasm for accessible technology is infectious – rubbing off on anyone who does the training.
Graham is an example of a person living with a long term health condition who is willing to share their day-to-day knowledge and experience of utilising accessible tech with others. Exclusion and isolation is common among older people living with sight loss and through his volunteering, Graham has brought technology into their lives, showing them that they too can be a part of the digital world.