Make becoming a Digital Volunteer your New Year’s Resolution
Digital volunteering is a fantastic way to get involved in your community and help people in need
Many of us commit to getting fit, eating healthy or quitting smoking in the New Year, but for 2016 we should also make a resolution to help someone get online in our local community, Digital Communities Wales and the Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) said today.
With an estimated* 19% of adults in Wales still not online there are worries that they’re missing out on opportunities to save money, look for work, find information, learn new skills and access important services.
Geoff Jones, volunteer coordinator at Digital Communities Wales, a Welsh Government funded project being delivered by the Wales Co-operative Centre, said:
“Digital volunteering is a fantastic way to get involved in your community and help people in need. With more and more services delivered online, many people such as the elderly, people with disabilities and job seekers, need a little extra help and support to access and make sense of the digital world.
“At Digital Communities Wales we are looking for volunteers who want to help these individuals take their first steps in digital learning, or assist those who already have some basic digital skills to better understand and engage with the online services which have the potential to make a real difference to their day-to-day lives. Over the last three months, we have signed up more than 100 digital volunteers to deliver sessions in their local community but we are always on the look out for more.”
Carole Coxon from Conwy is one of the latest to sign up as a digital volunteer in her local community and will be attending their first volunteering training session later this month. She said:
“I signed up to the Digital Communities Wales Volunteering programme because I wanted to make a real difference to the most vulnerable of people in my local community. Internet shopping, using social media or applying for a new job online comes as second nature to me, but I know for many it can be a daunting and somewhat frightening experience. I look forward to delivering my first volunteering session in my local community over the coming months and urge anyone who wants to make a difference in their local area to join us.”
Digital volunteers will get training and support from Digital Communities Wales and its partner Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA). The digital volunteer will be matched to a local organisation such as a library, housing association or community centre where their help is needed to support people getting online for the first time.
The digital volunteer role includes providing basic digital support to individuals on a 1-2-1 basis, and may include tasks and activities such as:
- Mouse/Keyboard skills
- Internet – Navigation / Browsing / Basic Job Search / Online Forms / Social Media
- Email – Setting up / Access / Attachments etc.
- Printing /Scanning
- Navigating Welfare Reform websites – Universal Job Match / Universal Credit
- Mobile devices
- Signposting customers to specialist support services
Ruth Marks Chief Executive of WCVA added: ‘WCVA is pleased to be working with Digital Communities Wales to promote volunteering and to help people get online. Using the internet and email in our everyday lives is second nature to many of us, and this project is a great way to help people engage with the digital community as well as encouraging a different kind of volunteering.’
If you are interested in becoming a digital volunteer, then please visit the volunteering page.
*Estimated Digital Exclusion figures sourced from 2014-15 National Survey for Wales. Data available upon request.