Some of CLASP Digital’s Essential Digital Skills learners received Bronze and Silver Certificates of Achievement at a presentation event at the Vennel Gardens Community Hub in Irvine on Thursday 23 January.
Originally funded through the Scottish Government’s Digital Participation initiative with additional funding from the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations’ Digital Participation Charter Fund 7, CLASP Digital is part of the Community Led Action & Support Project based in Stevenston and delivers group and one-to-one learning sessions to older adults across North Ayrshire. Supported by project staff and a team of volunteer ‘Digital Buddies’, the learners are guided through the basic use of ‘smart’ digital technology such as mobile phones, tablets, iPads and laptops before being introduced to the wonders of the internet. Launched in August 2017, to date the project has worked with almost 200 individuals and delivered over 1800 engagements. The project has also trained 17 volunteer Digital Buddies.
Ian Neal, Treasurer for the CLASP charity and long-serving Digital Buddy, presented the Certificates to 12 hard-working learners. A male learner and Bronze Certificate holder said, “This is the first certificate I’ve got in 77 years – I’m amazed at how much I’ve learned about my phone and tablet, and about using email and the internet. The tutors are fantastic – they’re so patient and really take time to explain things in ways I can understand”
Pam Crosthwaite, Capacity and Empowerment Officer at North Ayrshire Council’s Connected Communities presented the Learner of the Year Award and said, “This is a fantastic example of adult learning in the community. CLASP Digital supports senior citizens to use the internet to their benefit; helping them save on household bills; stay in touch with family and friends; reduce social isolation; and discover the unimaginable information accessible via their digital devices.
Jim Cooper, CLASP’s Digital Participation Coordinator, says, “We are really just at the beginning of a massive transformation in public services as the internet becomes increasingly the first choice for providers. However, older people, particularly when it comes to health services, are simultaneously proportionately the biggest consumers of resources and the least digitally included. Maximum benefit of investment by the NHS into digital services will only be realised with much greater digital literacy amongst the people using them. CLASP Digital provides a free one-to-one service to help older people achieve this.”