Finalist category: Digital Volunteer
Digital Volunteer Award, Winner, 2021
I think my passion for assisting people with their computers started back in 2005 after a comment made on one of my work appraisals saying how appreciative my team members were for the assistance I was able to give them with IT.
It was not until 2007 that I was able to progress further when working in the Learn to Earn Centre run by Lakes College at Keswick Museum. We had lots of people asking about problems they were facing with their IT that did not warrant the usual accredited course. I came up with the idea of a drop-in session called Computers & Coffee so we could tailor the support to the individual, I was allowed to run it for a trial period to see how it went. That group still runs today even though I have changed jobs and retired.
In 2014 I joined AbilityNet as a volunteer supporting older and disabled people with their tech at home. At the same time, I also became a Digital Inclusion Volunteer with AgeUK West Cumbria, and it was then that I also facilitated at ENTRA in Maryport every Friday at their Computer group.
Since that day it has been my privilege to be able to assist even more people.
This last 15 months have been a whirlwind! The admin at AbilityNet were struggling to keep up with all the requests for assistance and I had the time, so volunteered to help with that. I manned the helpline, undertook call backs and continued to support on a 1:1 basis, all done remotely in the new world we found ourselves in.
It has been a roller coaster!
1800 enquiries later, I have laughed, I have cried but not for one moment have I regretted my course.
AbilityNet does what it says on the tin.
Digital Inclusion for all.