Volunteers wanted for a new community engagement project

Today’s post is from Dr Ben Fletcher-Watson who is a Student Community Engagement Development Officer here at the University of Edinburgh.

Photo by Bobby Bank/Getty Images

Photo by Bobby Bank/Getty Images

Research students looking to gain experience in public engagement are encouraged to apply for a new project which links up the university with local communities.

We are looking for a small team of enthusiastic and friendly volunteers to become Digital Champions, helping older adults living near the university to get online for the first time. The position would especially suit research students with an interest in social care, digital culture, gerontology, gerontechnology, mobile technologies, intergenerational education and/or life-long learning. Volunteers may also have the opportunity to be named as co-authors on a subsequent peer-reviewed publication.

Research suggests that people aged over 60, especially those who live in areas of multiple deprivation, may benefit from training in basic digital literacy, as they are considerably less likely than younger people to have used computers in their working lives. Therefore, each Digital Champion will work one-to-one with an older person to help them master email, Skype, web browsing and other basic digital skills. The elderly participants will also be loaned an iPad by the university, to practise their new skills between sessions.

This will be a pilot programme in June and July (after examinations are completed), so volunteers must be available during this period. The time commitment will be 1 full day of training, followed by 2 hours per week volunteering for 6 weeks. For more information, visit the EUSA Volunteering site, or email ben.fletcher-watson@ed.ac.uk.

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