Thursday morning technical support sessions at CGN

Thursday morning tech training sessions at CGN  – laptops, smartphones and lots of advice

Thursday mornings at Chorlton Good Neighbours (CGN) aren’t all about coffee mornings just now. Since September (check) we’ve been running sessions to sort out any problems with member’s laptops. tablets, iPads, smartphones or PC’s. A grant under the Council’s COVID Impact Funding for a digital inclusion project has enabled us (together with two other local support groups) to employ a Digital Inclusion Officer to “support South Manchester residents to engage more confidently with technology”.

So CGN now has employed Aidan to do just that, both by going around to individuals’ homes and, more recently,  to the lounges of local retirement communities – he even logged a lounge group into a Zoom based history talk the other day.

Enid & me at a CGN Thursday morning training session

As the Thursday morning advice sessions are so popular include 3 volunteers as well as Aidan. I am one of them.  I have found it really interesting. It isn’t just t

he people asking for advice who learn it is also the people giving  advice. There is no better way to learn than trying to explain it to someone else as clearly as you can and letting them do it themselves. If they don’t get it first time (who does?) then they can come back the following and go through it again. We are learning together, and it is a great feeling when someone really gets how to run a Zoom session or pay a bill online

Take last week, Sheila came in wondering whether she should upgrade to a smartphone and what she would use it for. The great thing was that Aidan had managed to find a local ‘digital inclusion’ scheme which provided us with several refurbished Apple iPhone which each come with a phone number and a paid-for years subscription deal with a phone company. So, we were able to provide Sheila with a smartphone, train her how to use it and keep it if she finds it useful.

Enid was next. She had come the week before with her laptop to try  and  overcome those niggling things that stop you getting the best out of your computer, Things like “when I download some attachment, where does it go to?”. Above all she wanted to learn more about Zoom.  She goes to a lot of her church Zoom meetings but doesn’t want to be dependent on having to rely on others to arrange and host such meetings. Well, it’s taken  a couple of weeks and arranging are own Zooms (Her laptop to my smartphone) to finally crack. Most of all she is looking forward to the shocked look on the faces of some of the not-so-heavenly Hosts when she sets up her own sessions. Go Enid!

Bernard Leach