Our corporate volunteers are tackling older people’s isolation

Calley Clay Calley Clay

The Covid-19 outbreak has made TimeBank rethink how we can support those communities that are most isolated. Before Coronavirus changed the way we live and work, one of our most popular employee volunteering opportunities were Techy Tea Parties.

These events brought together corporate volunteers and guests from charities supporting older people. In these sessions, guests would ask the volunteers to help them to solve problems they were having with technology. Often these would be issues with setting up apps, figuring out how to download books to e-readers and attaching photos to emails.

We’ve now begun running these sessions over Zoom, using the breakout rooms feature to allow 1:1 conversation between volunteers and guests. I was initially concerned that the social side of the events would suffer with them being online rather than in person over a cup of tea and slice of cake. However, I was happy to see that this was not the case and conversation flowed easily.

As well as helping the guests to resolve issues they had with attachments, laptop storage, and watching BBC live from a phone, there was also lots of time for chatting about food, family and how everyone is coping with the current crisis.

Having a friendly chat and seeing new face definitely helps to combat the isolation that many are feeling during the lockdown. Many of our older guests live alone and some are in the shielded category so being able to use technology to socialise is crucial.

What a great thing to be part of! Everyone who dialled in to the Techy Tea party had a great time and found the opportunity invaluable. We could all switch off and think about others experiencing a more challenging situation during the lockdown than we were. Hopefully they had as much fun as we did!” Clare-Marie Hill, a corporate volunteer from Fidelity.

If your company would be interested in taking part in a Techy Tea Party, please get in touch with me at [email protected]

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