An initiative that has helped communities stay digitally connected during the pandemic is looking for more volunteers to support Denbighshire residents.
In the summer of 2020, Denbighshire Voluntary Services Council, Digital Communities Wales and Denbighshire County Council, in collaboration, launched Denbighshire Digital Buddies.
The scheme helps anyone needing assistance with digital technology and has helped families, friends and loved ones stay connected through the difficult lockdowns of the pandemic.
Buddies have provided technical support over the phone, helping people become more independent and improving their mental health and wellbeing.
Gareth Jones of Denbighshire Voluntary Services Council, said: “Communities in Denbighshire have come together during this pandemic, and our Digital Buddies scheme has tapped into that positive energy to provide valuable support.
"My role has been to recruit volunteers, ensure they are trained and to match them with people in the community who need digital assistance. We would like to recruit more volunteer Digital Buddies."
Debbie Hughes, a Digital Buddy volunteer from Prestatyn said: “I have recently helped a lady who had no IT skills at all. She was able to access a tablet through some of the work I do and was then able, with my support, to download WhatsApp. The lady now video calls her daughter in New Zealand.
“I think it’s opened her eyes a lot to other things that technology can do, and she will hopefully sign up to an IT class at her local library in September.
Debbie added: “Going through the training was very positive and I learned the wide variety of things technology can help with. Being a Digital Buddy volunteer is very rewarding as it is great to support people and see their IT confidence increase.”
Cllr Bobby Feeley, Denbighshire County Council’s Lead for Wellbeing and Independence, said: “This is a great volunteer scheme which has made a big and positive difference to people’s lives during the pandemic. Being connected to your friends and loved ones has never been so important and I am grateful to see how much the Denbighshire Digital Buddies have helped communities in the county.
“It is a very rewarding scheme for volunteers to join, as keeping everyone connected to each other is vital for mental health and wellbeing.
"If you know anyone that has a tablet or smartphone and needs help using it, for example, we would like to hear from you, and the person can be paired with a Digital Buddy."
* Contact Gareth Jones on 01824 702441 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for further information or if you would like to be a Digital Buddy.