MiCommunity used intergenerational volunteering to build a stronger sense of community and connectedness between young volunteers and older people, bridging differences in age, ethnicity and culture, and challenging negative stereotypes.
MiCommunity facilitated young people (aged 16-19) to share their IT skills, with older people (aged 60+), many of whom have little or no IT knowledge or skills.
What was MiCommunity?
Age UK London was awarded £352,000 by Team London (as part of the Mayor of London’s £4.5 million volunteering scheme) and the Reuben Foundation, to fund an intergenerational digital inclusion project called MiCommunity. The funding paid for 1000 volunteers to teach IT skills to older people (aged 60 and over) across London, from June 2011 to May 2012.
The aim of the project was to use digital technology to bring together older people and younger people in the capital. The project also gave local Age UKs in London the chance to engage corporate volunteers with short IT sessions. As well as working with older, younger and corporate volunteers, MiCommunity encouraged older learners to become volunteers themselves, by passing on their newfound IT skills to friends and family members.
Bringing older and younger people togetherMiCommunity was delivered by Age UK London and its partners: seven local Age UKs in London and three Zenos IT Academies. The local computer courses were taught in schools, at local Age UKs, Zenos IT Academies and other locations in each borough. The school-based courses took place in Barnet, Hackney, Haringey, Hillingdon, Kensington & Chelsea, Enfield, Redbridge and Barking & Dagenham, while the ‘IT taster sessions’ and ‘digital clinics’ were held in boroughs across London.
By bringing together older and younger people across London, MiCommunity isused digital inclusion to educate older people about computers and technology, and in doing so, also helped to reduce social isolation, whilst improving the younger volunteers’ employability and personal development.
The project exceeded all of its targets. It was delivered in 20 boroughs and 39 local schools, involving 1324 volunteers and benefiting 1450 older people.
How MiCommunity Helped Older People
"At the age of 67, I'm a student again! Thanks to MiCommunity, we pensioners have a great opportunity not only to learn new skills, which are so important in modern life, but also to meet the younger generation. My young teacher Jodie is competent and willing to help me. Everyone involved in the project has been helpful, friendly, and inviting. I'm joining another course after the summer holidays! I also introduced a friend to the course. I congratulate you, Boris Johnson, on your concern for older as well as younger generations, because we can all benefit from this great idea."
Maria Roberts, 67, from Barnet
The MiCommunity project has now finished. However, you can read about our recent digital project Go ON UK here, as well as viewing our Wealth of the Web campaign here. If you would like to take part in a "Techy Tea Party" to learn more digital skills, please email Sharon Tynan.