Digital Buddies is a new ‘social connection’ and support project in Salford and part of our COVID-19 response. It helps people who are struggling to use their phone or tablet to communicate well. It helps them stay connected with family and friends. It helps them to get the information they need.
It does this by linking them with trained young people who provide remote one-to-one support to help them solve their particular digital skills challenges.
As the Coronavirus situation continues and we have to self-isolate to such an extreme degree, those who aren’t very good at digital are the most isolated in our communities. This kind of ‘digital disadvantage’ is a new form of poverty in our current circumstances and it’s really affecting people badly. However, we’ve got a generation of amazingly talented and motivated young people who are stuck at home. No school; no exams; no holidays away; no prom; no summer programmes. They’ve got time on their hands. They are ‘digital natives.’ They want to volunteer and help us fight COVID-19. They are the solution!
How does ‘Digital Buddies’ work?
Young people register as volunteers with Salford Foundation. They get access to an online resource bank and undertake an interactive training module. Partner organisations in the City and members of the public make a ‘Request for Help’ referral for people who need this support. Salford Foundation matches the person needing support to their ‘digital buddy.’ The buddy contacts them to offer support. The support is totally bespoke. Whatever particular digital support the person needs to get them functioning online effectively is what they get. Salford Foundation monitors the relationship to make sure it’s safe and healthy for everyone involved.
We hope that in many cases, this won’t just be a case of solving the immediate issues. We hope they will become ‘buddies’ over the longer-term, forming new friendships across the generations.
If you know someone who needs this help (or you need it yourself), please fill in the simple ‘Request for Help’ form by either using the form here: https://forms.gle/1b2922MwpMRN4ZnZ8 or by downloading the form below and sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org