On Wednesday morning, our ‘”Better Connected” group was lucky enough to have a visit from Helen Milner, the CEO of the Tinder Foundation.
We began running “Better Connected” sessions in our activities room about a year ago. We’d noticed that lots of our clients either didn’t have any IT skills, or were really nervous about using computers. Digital skills are almost as important as literacy and numeracy these days. We all need them to get by in our day-to-day lives, and our clients need them to search for jobs, houses and to make benefit claims. We’ve been running IT training for many years, doing structured courses, and workshops in simple website creation, graphic design and digital editing. But it became clear that many clients weren’t coming to these formal sessions. The computers in our main activities room were mainly used for entertainment and chatting with friends. Clients weren’t talking about the importance of digital skills or staying safe when using computers. That’s why we began our informal “Better Connected” sessions.
The sessions are delivered two mornings a week and clients have access to computers, new tablets and a Chromecast on the big screen. We do lots of fun and interesting things. To get people involved we do quizzes and games like “Pictionary”. But we also have a weekly computer based exercise to help improve client’s skills and knowledge in a particular area. We’ve done sessions about simple keyboard and mouse skills to protecting your online identity. Last year over 200 clients came to our sessions and thanks to the Learn My Way online courses from the Tinder Foundation many have received certificates.
For those of you that don’t know, the Tinder Foundation is a charity which supports digital inclusion for socially excluded people. By digital inclusion, we mean giving people the skills they need to use computers and the internet in their day-to-day lives. This is so important for our clients, so we were really honoured that Helen took the time to come and see us. We hope that she enjoyed it as much as did!
Helen visited this week because it’s “Get Online Week”, when the Tinder Foundation provides extra resources for online centres to stage their own events that to encourage more people to get online! During her visit, Helen chatted with staff, clients and volunteers and presented a certificate to one of our clients, Steve, who has achieved a great deal through Better Connected.
It was a great day, with competitions, creative activities and lots of learning. A real celebration of all the good work done this year to support our homeless clients improve their digital skills. A big thanks to Helen!