Getting online in later life can be daunting. The Think Digital programme recruited and trained Digital Champions to support older people to make the most of the digital world.
What’s Think Digital?
We live in an increasingly online world, with many key services moving to become ‘digital first’. The COVID-19 pandemic has only increased the speed of these changes. While many older people have embraced digital technology, there are others who are less confident and at risk of being left behind.
Building upon the success and learnings of Age UK’s involvement with the One Digital programme, we set up Think Digital in 2020 to engage, inspire and support people over 50 years old to develop their digital skills through individually tailored support.
The programme was delivered by 3 local Age UKs and 2 Age Cymru’s, who recruited and trained Digital Champions - people who are keen to share their digital skills and motivate older people to get online. These Digital Champions then provided bespoke support to older people in their local area.
Think Digital was funded by Santander.
How does it work?
Think Digital’s Digital Champions delivered awareness-raising activities to inspire and motivate older people to get online. This involved a conversation about digital with an older person who’s using one of Age UK’s services, sharing leaflets and information, or hosting video calls about the benefits of digital.
Digital Champions also delivered remote support sessions to older people via phone or video call, to ensure that they can make the most of their device. The delivery of this support remotely allowed Age UK to continue supporting older people online during multiple national lockdowns and at a time the service was needed the most. For example, John signed up to be a Digital Champion with his local Age UK and is running support sessions:
This support was one-on-one, person-centred, and guided by what the older person wanted and needed to learn. For example, someone might be interested in being able to use video calling, do an online shop, or pursue their hobbies online - like Priya:
In addition to the skills support services provided through Think Digital, the local Age UKs and Age Cymrus who delivered the programme also rolled out a Tablet Loan Scheme, enabling older people to borrow a device, give it a go, and improve their confidence ahead of deciding whether to buy their own technology.
Making the most of the internet
From keeping in touch with friends and family to doing your shopping and banking, our step-by-step guides will help you feel confident and stay safe online.
Where did it run?
The Think Digital programme was run by:
- Age UK Blackburn with Darwen
- Age Cymru Dyfed
- Age Cymru Gwent
- Age UK Leicester Shire and Rutland
- Age UK South Lakeland
What did people say about the programme?
"I can’t believe what I have done in such a short time, considering I knew nothing in July of this year. I was on a bit of a desert island before all this."
"The staff have been absolutely phenomenal with me. They have built and given me so much confidence, so patient and understanding that I would consider it a life changing event."
"Using this service has completely opened up my life. I have done things I would never have been able to do if this service hadn’t been available to me."
"I am so determined to remain independent for as long as I can, and my shopping was my biggest worry. I can even check my substitutes on my shopping order now!"
How can I get more information?
If you want to find out more about Age UK’s digital skills support services, contact your local Age UK or email email@example.com