Anna Dolphin started work as a Digital Champion with the Digital Brighton & Hove project in August. She reflects on her first weeks in the role…

I had a great first two weeks in my new role as Community Digital Champion with Digital Brighton & Hove. The Citizens Online team and Library Co-ordinators have been doing amazing work throughout the pandemic to help people to connect online and they have given me a warm welcome and support while I learn the ropes.

Digital Champion Anna Dolphin, distributing tablets to isolated people in Brighton & Hove and helping them get started online.
Digital Champion Anna Dolphin, distributing tablets to isolated people in Brighton & Hove and helping them get started online

There have been many highlights of the last two weeks, so I just wanted to share a few of these… 

I have had some interesting and diverse calls on the Digital Brighton & Hove support line, including a call from a tablet loan recipient who said,

The Digital Champion has been wonderful and having the tablet has been absolutely invaluable. It has changed my life!”  

I also safely delivered a batch of tablets to some very pleased and excited new learners who have begun their digital journey. After exploring some of their interests online including ballet, the natural world and favourite authors, one person said,

This is so exciting, I can look up all my hobbies and passions. It is not like being stuck with whatever is on the television, I get to choose what I want to look up and watch.”

Another is looking forward to joining activities and groups that they used to attend in person that have moved online, and seeing her grandchildren using her new tablet for video calling.

One person I supported has complex health needs and has been very isolated from family and friends throughout this time of COVID-19 restrictions. They exclaimed “Yippee!” when finding out they would be able to email friends and family using their newly received tablet.

I have also been helping someone in their 80s to access emails and build trust and confidence in using their tablet device, so they can continue with their important community work and campaigning.

The next steps for me are to set up a new batch of tablets this week from the Devices Dot Now scheme. They’ll be ready to be for their new learners, along with creating some ‘Getting Started’ guides for the new batch of tablets which I am looking forward to delivering.

All of this connection has been made possible through our supporters, Brighton & Hove City Council, Devices Dot Now, Sussex Community Foundation, the Institute for Development Studies and the huge range of help we’re getting through our partner network of voluntary sector organisations working together to tackle digital inequality and help people build personal resilience beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

For more information about Digital Brighton and Hove, please go to our website or drop us an email on DigitalBH@citizensonline.org.uk