Congratulations to LearnIT computer buddy and volunteer coordinator Jennifer Currell: proud recipient of an Achievement Award at this year’s Inspiring Volunteering Awards. Jennifer kindly took time to tell us about the awards ceremony and her work with our LearnIT Service.
What a fabulous evening!!! It was such an honour to receive an Inspiring Volunteer award at the City Chambers. I was presented with a certificate by Donald Wilson, Lord Provost of Edinburgh. The award was such a nice surprise and to be selected was something I never dreamed of.
The award ceremony was held at the City Chambers which is steeped in so much history with magnificent artefacts and paintings. There was musical entertainment and a chance to mingle after the awards ceremony in the European Room where there was wine and a buffet.
I started volunteering as a LearnIT buddy about 3 years ago. This was the first time I had really done any sort of volunteering so I was a bit nervous about it. But I was given help and support by the library staff involved and I have found it very rewarding. I had worked in IT for over 30 years but the rewards I got from being part of the LearnIT service were immense so I decided to give up work and I now spend a lot of my time helping others learn IT skills.
There are so many examples of people I have met and been able to help whilst either supporting LearnIT classes or doing 1:1 buddying sessions. One couple I met had previously regarded themselves as complete technophobes and had purposely avoided all aspects of IT. After a few weeks of 1:1 buddying they had fully embraced IT – so much so that when planning a holiday to Australia they would only book into a hotel which had WiFi!!
The LearnIT program is a wonderful idea, helping people to get involved in the sort of basic computing so many of us take for granted. The classes are in small groups and people are put at ease and within a few sessions they are busy sending emails and surfing the net looking for information about a hobby or similar. When they discover what computers can do for them the fear of technology seems to disappear. When learners are so appreciative it makes it all worthwhile. Giving people a little bit of help and encouragement makes everyone happy – a win/win situation I think!!!