During Volunteers Week 2023, we’ve been thanking Digital Champion volunteers for the help they give with digital skills. Clara Jones, Head of Digital Inclusion at Starting Point Community Learning Partnership, who manage the DigiKnow Digital Champions network, tells us more.
Did you know that over 40 volunteers give their time volunteering as DigiKnow Digital Champions? Digital Champions help people to get online and feel more confident to use computers. This year DigiKnow Digital Champions have given over 500 hours of support to learners in Stockport.
There isn’t enough space on this page to say a big enough Thank You to all the volunteers who are part of the DigiKnow network! It certainly makes me smile when I think of all the Digital Champion volunteers that I am lucky enough to know and work alongside.
The Digital classes couldn’t run without Digital Champions. Our drop-in sessions can have ten learners with ten different questions, so to be able to help everyone, we need the help of Digital Champions. Volunteers make sure that everyone has some 1-1 time in classes.
The most successful classes have volunteers with a wide range of skills, different personalities, and backgrounds. We say ‘trusted faces in local spaces’, and to help everyone to feel welcome, all our different volunteers play a unique part in being a face that someone else can trust. The digital world can be intimidating, and it’s important that all our learners can find someone they feel safe with in our classes.
But why do volunteers give their time?
I can tell you how amazing volunteers are and what a difference they make, but what do volunteers say about volunteering as a digital Champion?
I like giving something back to my community, and I like meeting new people.
The best thing about volunteering is the feeling you get when someone learns something. It’s rewarding and you are passing something on. It makes you feel good.
I feel safe with Starting Point, it means a lot to me that I’m welcome here.
I like that we work together as a team, supporting each other, with like-minded people and being part of a good thing. Whatever our different skills are, we all work together.
The best smile of the day is when you teach someone something new.
There’s more about volunteering as a Digital Champion in last week’s blog: Volunteering as a gateway into communities.
We need more Digital Champions
There are always more organisations that are looking for Digital Champions. As more aspects of life move online, we know there will be lots of people feeling a bit lost who would love some support. From Ringo apps and online benefit forms to WhatsApp or applying for jobs online, DigiKnow Digital Champions will be needed more than ever!
You don’t need to be a computer genius to be a Digital Champion. Your everyday skill using a phone or device at home is fantastic. Please get in touch if you’re interested.
- We would love to hear from volunteers who have a disability.
- You are welcome if you are learning English.
- Please talk to us if you need flexible volunteering.
We give free training to anyone interested, and we meet up once a month so Champions get to share their ideas and solve problems together. Once a quarter, we have a DigiKnow Digital Champions social, just for fun! Last year we went for a ‘digital walk’, had a picnic, took part in a quiz and had fish and chips together.
You never know. You might find your best smile of the day volunteering as a DigiKnow Digital Champion.
If you come across people who aren’t online or need help doing things online, the DigiKnow community network can help. There are free group classes across Stockport, and many community groups also offer help with digital skills alongside their regular activities. Cheaper broadband and phone packages are available for those on low incomes, or they may be able to borrow a device and data from the DigiKnow Device Library for free. Call the DigiKnow Helpline on 07724 217888, ask at your local library, or visit the DigiKnow web pages for more information.
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