Enlisting, engaging and training volunteers is one of the main areas organisations and individuals would like funding for so they can continue to help older people to use computers and the internet.

This is according to a funding survey we carried out earlier this month among our network of intermediaries, i.e. those who are at the coalface of helping others to get online. Our short questionnaire was intended to understand how and where funding could be best used to sustain their essential delivery of digital skills learning and to use these findings to inform the work of national funding bodies. The results proved enlightening:

  • Having a better understanding of accessibility issues and how to overcome them was considered one of the most beneficial ways to help them with supporting older people (40%) alongside having tips and techniques to engage with volunteers and other forms of support.
  • If given £100 to help with their digital learning activities, the most popular way of spending it would be on enlisting, incentivising and/or training volunteers to get involved (23%) or running a special or themed computer event for example to buy supporting materials or to hire a computer tutor (a further 23%). Interestingly, only 7% would choose to spend that money on buying or improving existing software or kit.
  • For nearly two-thirds (63%) being able to spend £100 in a particular way to support their activities would make a great difference or have a positive effect with regard to both capacity and motivation. Nearly 1 in 4 (23%) said whilst spending the £100 in their chosen way wouldn’t make a difference to capacity it would motivate them.

The more general comments received include how challenging it can be to seek funding but how vital it is if these organisations and individuals are to continue to “deliver a flexible, responsive, organic and sustainable learning environment, which is what we have found works best for people of all ages”.

It is quite incredible to see what a big difference a small amount of funding can make to those people who work tirelessly and enthusiastically to help others, old and young, to get online which is an ever increasing necessity in this modern digital age.

Here at Digital Unite we would like to take this opportunity to promote the ways in which we enable these good people to ‘do the do’ such as our online courses and our free resources including our learning guides and our Spring Online campaign.

On a wider level though it’s imperative that more funding is realised and made accessible to those who truly know how to spend it wisely, creatively and empoweringly.

Thank you to all those who took part in this survey and, to all those who are doing similar great work – we salute you.


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