By: Kimberly Rodrigues
The initiative, Adopt a Grandparent, dedicated to combating loneliness among elderly care home residents, is thrilled to announce its partnership with Barclays Digital Eagles, a press release said.
Together, they are launching a specialised training programme for volunteers and creating a tailored digital space for seniors and care workers to acquire essential digital skills. These skills will not only enhance their experience with the Adopt a Grandparent programme but also empower them to navigate the modern digital landscape, the release stated.
Founded by Shaleeza Hasham, Adopt a Grandparent is an independent charity committed to alleviating feelings of loneliness and isolation on a global scale. The organisation pairs volunteers with elderly individuals, fostering meaningful and enduring relationships, and bringing people together.
As Adopt a Grandparent approaches a significant milestone of 100,000 volunteers, Barclays Digital Eagles steps in to provide digital training to care home staff and residents.
This support ensures that they can establish and maintain meaningful connections with their “virtual pairings.”
Barclays Digital Eagles, as part of Barclays Bank’s corporate social responsibility efforts, offers free digital skills training to individuals in need, aligned with the Government’s Digital Skills Framework.
Their online training platform includes modules covering mobile device setup, app downloading, video calling across various platforms, and online safety. This expertise and content make them an ideal partner for Adopt a Grandparent and its mission.
Shaleeza Hasham, the founder of Adopt a Grandparent, explains, “When we started Adopt a Grandparent, it was something that had been in the works for a while but which was ultimately sped up by the pandemic. Working in the care sector, I got to see first-hand the impact of social isolation on care home residents and the difficulties in connecting them with loved ones digitally. The sad truth is that some didn’t have anyone they could connect to in that way.”
She continues, “Similarly, the Digital Eagles began supporting the health and care sector at the same time, pledging to help 500 care homes across the UK to learn new digital skills to benefit both staff and residents. The Digital Eagles have set up a bespoke training page for our volunteers, ensuring they have all the knowledge and skills they need to really engage in Adopt a Grandparent and make a meaningful connection.”
Barclays Digital Eagles’ online learning platform, Digital Wings, provides over 300 hours of learning content, allowing people to acquire digital skills at their own pace from the comfort of their homes. These skills are essential for both day-to-day modern life and closing the digital skills gap in the workforce.
Shaleeza further adds, “The Digital Eagles platform is giving people the digital skills to be able to engage with Adopt a Grandparent in the most meaningful and safe way, especially for those who want to take part but who may not have the knowledge and skills to use the app and set up video calls, for example.”
Additionally, to reach a wider audience, Digital Eagles has established the Digital Champions programme, training individuals who can then share their digital skills within their communities.
Adopt a Grandparent encourages care home staff to participate, enabling them to better assist residents in making connections through the programme and training family and friends to utilise digital platforms for more regular communication.
In conclusion, Shaleeza states, “Ultimately, this exciting partnership will see Barclays Digital Eagles go into care homes to train staff to increase their digital literacy and further spread the word of the charity – helping to pair some of the resounding 90,000 volunteers with their ‘virtual’ grandparents.”
The charity is also seeking volunteers for the “Adopt a Grandparent Community Champion” role, who can help promote the positive work of the charity within their local communities.
Those interested in getting involved and receiving volunteer training can visit the Adopt a Grandparent website for the details.