Chichester Cathedral's HomeTech success

A new project has digitally upskilled and empowered over 80 members of Chichester’s Cathedral Community.

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in many people being digitally excluded, as services, from banking through to medical prescriptions were delivered  and administered almost exclusively online.

Carolyn Atkinson, Volunteer and HR Co-ordinator, and Ken Sim, a new volunteer at the Cathedral, who stepped forward to offer his time for this project, with experience in voluntary work with Citizens Advice and a background in marketing and research, together with a dedicated team of six ‘digital volunteers’ were pleased to launch an initiative called ‘HomeTech’ to help members of the Cathedral community make the most of new technology. HomeTech was generously funded by the AllChurches Trust.

A survey undertaken by the team in September 2021 revealed a gap in digital experience and confidence amongst members of the community. Following this research, a series of five weekly workshops were developed, running from February to March 2022. The programme covered all aspects of home digital technology, from smart phones, tablets and computers, to video doorbells and smart speakers.

Over 80 people signed-up to the workshops and due to the large uptake, and with the support of the dedicated team of Digital Volunteers, it became possible to run each workshop twice.

Carolyn Atkinson, Volunteer and HR Co-ordinator, said:

“HomeTech came at a perfect time for our Cathedral community. They’ve massively appreciated the work that Ken and the team have put into the project. The Cathedral has proved to be the perfect setting for giving people the confidence to step forward and come together to improve their digital skills.”

Ken Sim, volunteer Project Leader, said:

“Having delivered training to a lot of people over the years, I was heartened by the sheer enthusiasm of the Cathedral community, eager to learn new skills. All our digital volunteers have been amazing, sometimes run-ragged, trying to support over 40 people at each session.”

The first phase of HomeTech has come to an end, and the sessions have been incredibly well received – acting as both an opportunity to learn new skills, but also for friends, separated by the pandemic, to meet together once again.

HomeTech will continue throughout 2022 in the form of a monthly surgery to help people to continue improving their digital skills. We thank Carolyn, Ken and the team of Digital Volunteers - Annabelle Hancock, Mike Sullivan, Carolyn Codner, John Harding, Stephen Porter and Pamela Porter.

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