Helping our community to live lockdown life online

  • Date

    Tue 21 Apr 20

Essex staff and students are to take part in a new volunteering scheme, addressing the growing 'Digital Divide' by offering IT skills training to the local community.

During lockdown, we’re being asked to use technology more and more.

Connecting with family, ordering things we need online, communicating with local volunteer groups via apps and email – we are all being asked to be a little more “tech savvy”.

So how do we bridge the 'Digital Divide', and make sure we all enjoy the benefits of life online?

Staff and students from the University of Essex are sharing their IT skills to help others. Essex Students’ Union’s Volunteering Department, known as VTeam, has partnered with Citizens UK and Colchester Methodists to create a network of ‘Tech Champions' and help you get what you need from the online world.

Starting this Thursday (23 April), they will be hosting a series of discussions, asking what you would like to know before creating smaller groups to guide you through specific tasks.

Tomas Kasiulis, Volunteering Manager at Essex Students’ Union, said: “The current situation is asking us all to use technology more, and for some groups in society that presents a particular challenge. Staying in touch with friends and family is really important, but what if that requires software you’ve never used? With so much of our ‘normal’ lives now taking place online, we want to make sure everyone has the skills they need – to chat, to order things they need or to do things like join a Sunday church service.”

Professor Lorna Fox O'Mahony, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, said: “This is another great initiative from our Students’ Union VTeam. We’re so proud of our staff and student volunteers and what they have achieved in recent weeks – delivering food, volunteering at local foodbanks and helping to create community networks that protect the most vulnerable. I hope this new programme will support and empower people in our community in this difficult time.”

The first session, Social Media for Beginners, is from 2pm to 3pm on Thursday, 23 April.

If you would like advice, you can join from a computer or smart phone or, if you prefer, dial in on 0203 481 5237, using the ID 9745444487.