Every Thursday afternoon at Leytonstone Library, Digital Champions, David and Bill, are busy helping local residents get to grips with technology and the internet.
In just an hour or so they help around eight people, some new and some who are regular visitors. The Champions help people of all different ages with a variety of online activities. Sometimes learners have a phone or tablet and don’t know where to start or they want to learn about a particular digital task.
People like Debbie. “I come here regularly to get help with all sorts of digital things, today I wanted to know how to download music. The Digital Champions showed me how to do that patiently and in a way I could understand, they are stars!”
Valuable Digital Champion support in Waltham Forest
David and Bill’s sessions have been a permanent fixture at the library since 2018 when David was asked to 'convert' the existing IT drop in that he had set up some time before this. They provide an informal place for people to improve their digital skills as well as feel part of their local community.
This invaluable support forms part of the London Borough of Waltham Forest’s Digital Champions programme in which they have dozens of Champions across the borough providing help with digital skills. Much of the activity takes place at the Council’s eight libraries and the Champions are trained and equipped with teaching materials through Digital Unite’s Digital Champions Network.
"What we're doing is making a difference"
Digital Champion Bill said: “Every week we help people with a wide range of things but as more services are moved online, people increasingly want help with paying bills over the internet and setting up online banking. Some people need a lot of help and one to one support and often they come in with their own device that they don’t know how to work. It’s always rewarding know that what we’re doing here every week is making a difference.”
Jenny Hall, Digital Content Designer at the London Borough of Waltham Forest said: “Our Digital Champions Network has been successfully running for over three years now and in that time our Champions have helped hundreds of local residents. Our libraries are a crucial part of our Champions programme and give us accessible and friendly places in the heart of the communities to provide this essential digital skills support.”