Digi Steps, a social enterprise run by school pupils who wanted to share their internet and computer skills with senior citizens in their area, are the latest winners of the Prime Minister's Big Society Award.
The students from Avonbourne School, Bournemouth have been encouraging would be silver surfers to get online through one-to-one after school lessons, where the pupils show the more senior students internet skills such as using email, video calls, booking train tickets, selling online and researching their hobbies. The overall aim of the project is to prevent digital exclusion and create links between two elements of the community who would otherwise rarely meet.
The Prime Minister said:
These dynamic young people are providing a much valued service for others in their community, whilst developing their own skills and business sense at the same time.
This innovative project is also a brilliant way of bringing generations together, helping to build a stronger community.
Congratulations to all the young volunteers at Digi Steps, their senior students, and of course to teacher Kathryn Loughnan for helping to foster such entrepreneurship among her pupils.
I wish them well with their exciting plans to take the scheme nationwide.
Kathryn Loughnan from Digi Steps said:
This project works superbly on so many levels. It is intergenerational, bringing together our teenage digital natives with our older folk in the local community who face digital exclusion. They would not normally have an opportunity to interact, yet each week there is a buzz in the room as they get together and develop their knowledge. The older students learn about the internet and the younger students have taken on communication skills, teaching, marketing, blogging, funding and general running of their project. They are a dynamic band of social entrepreneurs!
Student Ellie Maynard said:
It’s a great experience and has made me more aware of the world of business and technology especially. Most importantly though, it has enabled me to work with the older members of my local community who I would not normally come into contact with. They love the lessons and we all love teaching them new skills.
Senior Student Robin Long said:
The wonderful thing is that we have the very best of experts to guide us and they are so incredibly patient. Our teenage trainers know all there is to know about the Internet. They encourage us, step by step and build our confidence in the challenges we face. It is difficult for our generation as we were brought up with the “don’t touch” approach to new technologies, whereas these young people are completely at ease with the equipment we use and that encourages us to explore all these fantastic, new opportunities.
Read more: Big Society Awards