What skills do you need to be a buddy?

A buddy with a student at saint mauritius houseWhen I ask people if they might be interested in becoming a techy tea buddy, they often pull a look of horror and say something like "I couldn't do that, I don't know enough about the internet!". I usually ask them if they can do a Google search, if they can send emails and text messages. They usually admit they can do things.  "Well you qualify, then" I respond. "If you can do those things you have the technical skills required. There's only one skill you need on top of that - PATIENCE".

People don't often realise how inexperienced people over 65 are with internet use. They also don't realise that the major barrier to elderly people learning is fear. A recent report produced by the Poverty and Social Exclusion in the United Kingdom research project found that 

  • older people are much more likely to be afraid of breaking something when they use tablets or laptops. Whereas 6% of student report having this fear, and 16% of the employed, 45% of older people report being afraid of this
  • 43% of older people say they feel technologies can't be trusted because they fail at important times, compared with 15% of the employed and 5% of students [1]

Quite often, as a buddy, all you have to do is encourage an older person to have the confidence to carry out the action they are thinking of without worrying too much about the consequences. That's why we make our clubs informal and social. It helps to create an easy-going and friendly environment, not one focussed on targets or using classroom style teaching. We don't make a distinction between students coming to learn, or coming for social reasons. They are all part of the same thing, as the purpose is to make using tablets and laptops feel like a normal activity which we are all included in. Inducing this feeling is the key to buddying.

[1]Poverty and Social Exclution Report
By Damian Griffiths at 24 Dec 2017

First Article

By Damian Griffiths at 24 Dec 2017

Sydenham Garden Coworkers come to Techy Tea

sydenham garden at techy tea

Sydenham garden is a wellbeing centre helping people in recovery from mental and physical health problems. A group came down to Ewart Hall Techy Tea this Tuesday. It was a busy session with 13 students altogether, and thus had a bit of it's old buzz. The students from Sydenham Gardens were both volunteers and coworkers at the project. Their willingness to help with the washing up was a sign that they had experience working in a self-managed collaborative community environment. There was definitely a feeling of affinity between them and us. I hope we will see them again at some point in the near future.

By Damian Griffiths at 6 Dec 2017

Giving Tuesday at Ewart Community Hall

Sam shows Wyn a few computer tricksSam Hawksley from Lewisham Local and Fay Millen from Volunteer Centre Lewisham came down to Ewart Hall today to help out at the Techy Tea club, as part of Giving Tuesday. CatBytes got out our new polka dot table cloths to celebrate the event. You can see them in this picture. Although they may turn out to be a regular feature, as it seems a shame to fork out for them and then use them just once a year. Also, I haden't actually heard of Giving Tuesday at the time I purchased them, so I was really just jumping on the bandwagon with my polka dot table cloths.

Giving Tuesday is an American import, like Black Friday. It's purpose is in fact to challenge the rampant and, from a British perspective, ad hoc consumerism of Black Friday. There is also Cyber Monday, which is part of an attempt by marketing companies to make more people shop online. As we teach internet skills at CatBytes, it becomes difficult to know which American cause we are promoting this week. Luckily, as we run on Tuesday, we can say it is Giving Tuesday we are supporting. Maybe the polka dot table cloths make this point clearer. 

By Damian Griffiths at 28 Nov 2017

Mayor's awards 2017 - we got a certificate!

mayor's certificate

The Mayor's awards (to recognise volunteering in the borough )was in the civic suite on 24th November. Sir Steve himself was there, with Joan Millbank, who gave a speach. There was a jazz band, lots of free booze, and little snacks being handed round by uniformed staff. 

The winner for individual effort was Robert Morrison, who for his voluntary work  for Quo Vadis mental health charity, which is based in Beckenham in South East London/Kent. He has suffered mental health problems himself and is now helping other people who have them.

Teklehamanot Beraki got an award for younger people as part of the Lewisham Young People project. He is an immigrant from East Africa. I'm not sure why he left his place of birth, but it's good to see that someone can get stuck in and make a positive difference so that people notice in such a short space of time.

Deptford Folk got an award for a community group or business. I've not heard of them, probably because they are based in Deptford. There is a bit of an invisible divide between the Deptford/New Cross region and anything south of the yellow box storage centre on Lewisham way, in my experience. They've got over 1000 Twitter followers, anyway, including me now.

Pat Fordham MBE and David Cummins got a special award for long service with Pheonix Community Housing.

CatBytes got a certificate for the Techy Teas. MyCompleteFocus also got one for the same thing. I don't know who nominated us. Apparently it's a secret, but I have my suspicions. There were lots of networking opportunities, and some familiar faces. Damien Egan, the future mayor was there, and he listened sympathetically as I chewed his ear off about Labour Ladywell ward internecine issues. To be fair, he had said he was going to come and talk to us, and I had had my wine glass filled quite a few times at this point.

By Damian Griffiths at 25 Nov 2017