Older people in Solihull are being empowered to help themselves using digital technology thanks to a local charity and the generous support of a Solihull based company.
Xoserve, the Central Data Service Provider for Great Britain’s gas market, chose local older people’s charity Age UK Solihull as one of their 2018/2019 Charities, with their focus being on raising money to invest in improving IT skills for older people.
The team at Xoserve has raised an impressive £2,341 through various fundraising initiatives, including a ‘New Year New You’ wellbeing event, baking competitions, sweepstakes and a Christmas jumper competition.
The money has been spent on two new self-help touchscreen PCs for Age UK Solihull’s Community Advice Hub, at The Core in Solihull Library. Rather than relying on an advisor to complete online forms on their behalf, older people who access the Hub for information and advice can use the touchscreen PCs themselves, with the help of a trained Age UK Solihull volunteer.
Margaret came to the Hub needing help with printing off her benefit statements. The Self-Help Volunteer showed her how to do so, and Margaret returned two weeks later saying how happy she was that she was now able to come into the library and print off her statements herself.
Age UK Solihull offers information, advice and support to older people in the Solihull borough, and they have delivered the Community Advice Hubs in central Solihull and Chelmsley Wood libraries since 2014. They are also a lead partner in the new community wellbeing service Solihull First, where alongside partner organisations, they offer help to anyone over 18 living in Solihull.
Often, older people approach the Community Advice Hubs after being scammed online. Age UK Solihull is trying to address this by supporting older people to become more confident using digital technology and educating them on the pitfalls to avoid them being the victim of scams. As well as receiving a practical solution to their immediate issue, clients using the self-help touchscreen PCs can also receive training on how to avoid scams.
Age UK Solihull’s Head of Information and IT, Kate Turrall, says, “As a local charity, having the support of a company like Xoserve means a lot. We help 10,000 people a year just like Margaret, and we are delighted to be able to empower them to help themselves with our self-help computers.
“All our income is raised in Solihull and stays in Solihull to help local older and vulnerable people, and the money raised by Xoserve will make a real difference in the community. We are so grateful.”
Xoserve’s Health and Wellbeing Manager, Elaine Shannon, and Wellbeing and Engagement Coordinator, Samantha Scagell, visited the Community Advice Hub on Friday 10th May 2019 to meet Age UK Solihull staff and volunteers, and to see the self-help PCs in action.
Elaine said, “It was fantastic to see the money that Xoserve colleagues have raised by having fun, put to such great use in our local community to keep people digitally connected and supported. In such a fast paced data driven world, it’s easy to quickly get out of touch with technology and we’re delighted to be helping Age UK Solihull to deliver such valuable services.”
Xoserve are planning to continue fundraising for Age UK Solihull, and their next aim is to raise money for equipment to make the charity’s services accessible for everyone, such as induction loops, voice-activated software, riser desks and magnifiers/readers.
The Community Advice Hubs are based at Chelmsley Wood and Solihull Libraries. You can drop in Monday to Friday; 10:00am to 4:00pm (they both close early on Wednesdays). Information and advice can also be given over the phone during these hours. Please call 0121 709 7590 if you need help or support.