At Citizens Online, we know tailored support is vital in tackling digital inclusion. Digital Champions provide this through 1 to 1 and group support for individuals who aren’t online. Whether acting as volunteers or offering digital skills support as part of their job, their role is to help people make the most of technology and the Internet.
A lifeline during lockdown
Digital Champions have been a crucial part of Citizens Online’s response to Covid-19. They have acted as a lifeline to learners during lockdowns, providing crucial digital skills support via our free helpline. They also help people who are digitally excluded by signposting access to devices. Their support means people have been able to access vital services online while isolated in their own homes.
‘My Digital Champion is wonderful – it is like winning the lottery – I can’t thank her enough… We do need this kind of help right now. People think it [getting online] is a big mountain, but with my Digital Champion it is not.’Learner who was supported by a Digital Champion
Support for Digital Champions
But Digital Champions need support too. People offering digital skills support have had to adjust to a whole new way of working in the last year. Richard, a Digital Champion in North Yorkshire, describes:
‘Trying to get someone who’s not familiar with a tablet or mobile to describe to you what they see on the screen is not straightforward!’Richard, Digital Champion, North Yorkshire
Citizens Online support over 330 Digital Champions and we have been keen to ensure they have been well supported during the pandemic. We have used online tools to enable sharing of best practice. This includes a Trello board full of resources and a ‘Slack’ channel where Digital Champions can raise questions and share ideas with others. We provide access to the Digital Champions Network which offers ongoing training and support.
Share and Learns
We have also been running regular share and learn sessions online. Through these catch ups, Digital Champions can come together to share experiences and discuss the best ways to help learners.
‘Share and learns are a good way to collaborate across the group where key issues can be discussed. You feel like you are not a lone ranger in this – there is a group of people all willing to help each other to ultimately help our learners.’Sanjay, Digital Champion, Ealing
So far, topics have included how to transition to deliver in-person support safely when restrictions are lifted, training on specific technology and regional issues. Upcoming sessions include a session on supporting as part of National Safeguarding Week and induction training.
Regular informal meet and chat sessions have also been scheduled. These sessions give Digital Champions the time and space to discuss how they can best help learners.
Any Digital Champions interested in attending an upcoming share and learn sessions can email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you (or someone you know) needs help to get started using technology or want to build your confidence to do more online, call 0808 196 5883 and leave a message.
One of our team of trained Digital Champions will call you back and offer friendly, patient support over the phone.