A number of older people in a very rural community in the Highlands of Scotland expressed a need for support in using digital technology
Project Duration: 15th April 2016—Ongoing
Due to a need in the local community of older people seeking support for digital technology and young people looking to do more volunteering a Youth Development Officer decided to resurrect a project which had already been delivered however had proven very successful for another 12 months called ‘Get to know your Techno”.
The project aimed to tackle isolation and reduce loneliness for older people in our Community as well as addressing stereotypes between the generations.
For senior participants:
- Provide an activity that was tailored to the needs of every single older person, the activity’s would help social interaction and improve the quality of life for the older person
- Build strong trusting relationships with younger people
For younger people:
- Provide opportunities for younger people to take part in an activity in a safe, stimulating and relaxing atmosphere where they could gain new experiences and learn new skills
- Gain recognition for volunteering for their Saltire Award
- Build strong trusting relationships with older people
Sessions were run weekly and during the holidays, most days saw on average of 5-8 older people attend receiving 1-1 support from Pupils.
- 25 older people aged 60+ (with the oldest being in her 80’s) and 28 young people aged 13-17 years took part
Activities and events included:
- Dementia Friends training
- Internet Safety
- Online Banking
- Sharing memories and skills
- Casual day for Dementia and the aim to get Fortrose Academy to become a Dementia friendly school and the same for the community
- Sessions of ‘Techno’ provided at Highland Adult Literacy day for learners
- Sessions provided on ‘Techno’ in the community 6 week block
- Sessions with the RNIB to support a blind learner – all new apps downloaded and working
- Support given to older learners to buy online, set up e-mail address’s etc.
Other examples of how younger and older people helped and supported each other included:
- An older lady was having problems picking a care home for her husband, volunteers and staff helped her sift through HMI reports and retrieve all sorts of info. The gentleman is now stable and enjoying his new location
- Help was given to an older lady who needed support in processing an insurance claim which proved successful
- Over 300 meals were delivered to vulnerable families with the support from the Highland Homeless Trust;
- Walking implements were collected by the young people and given to old people who were struggling;
- Book Week the Journey;
- Volunteers set up Facebook for many of the older people which helped them stay connected to friends and family who lived locally and further afield.
Benefits for the Community
- Bringing together younger and older people and building relationships
- Less generational conflict and misunderstanding
- Keeping active and healthy
Benefits for the Younger People
- Increased self esteem and resilience
- Learning and sharing new skills
- Being valued
The project and young volunteers won the following awards:
- Young people won the Established Intergenerational Project for 2016 from Generations Working Together
- Highland Adult Learning Partnership Adult Learner Award
- Highly Commended Lord – Lieutenants Award for 2016
- Saltire Summit Awards from The Highland Third Sector Interface
Benefits for the Older People
- Increased confidence to use the internet
- Feeling valued and respected, empowered and happy
- Increased connections to the younger generations
- An increase in social interaction – for some participants it was the only activity they attended
This project was funded by HighLife Highland staff time. Funding applications brought in some funds to buy refreshments.
We evaluated this project week to week asking the learners what they enjoyed, what could be changed, how things could be improved. We did this with both groups.
It is hoped that the get to Know your Techno project will continue for the foreseeable future.
Local priorities for our young people are that regardless of their ability or circumstances they have the opportunity to be supported to realise their true potential so they can live healthy, fulfilling lives – the aim would be for the young people to gain more confidence and self-esteem, become more respected, responsible and included in the community by making a positive contribution.
Our project focuses very much on the five Youth work priorities used by HighLife Highland:
- Voice of young people
- Young people in need
SMARTER – Expanding opportunities to succeed from nurture through to lifelong learning ensuring higher and more widely shared achievements.
And, also could contribute to:
WEALTHIER & FAIRER – will support activities that address inequalities and enhance skills, employability and job opportunities. It builds on the characteristics of solidarity, cohesion and sustainability to ensure that all of Scotland has an opportunity to flourish.
This project contributes to the Scottish National Performance Framework (NPF).
Scottish NPF Outcomes
- Our young people are successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens: To enable children, young people and (subsequently) adults to thrive from an early age, and make a positive contribution in the 21st century.
- We are better educated, more skilled and more successful, renowned for our research and innovation.
- We have tackled the significant inequalities in Scottish society.
- Our people are able to maintain their independence as they get older and are able to access appropriate support when they need it.