Coming together, with a click

Margaret and Andrew

This is a story about how, through the Digital Buddy programme, a group of exceptional volunteers are helping people like Andrew to connect with the world.

Andrew on zoom with volunteers

Over the last couple of years, our lives have all changed. The pandemic forced us to adapt to a new way of life. During a time when we couldn’t see other people in person, we relied on the click of a mouse and the tapping of keys to stay connected to the outside world and those we love.

The importance of social media, emails, and video meeting platforms like Zoom became an essential way of life to work and socialise. But for people without the knowledge or skills to use a computer, this was a time of extreme isolation and loneliness.

The impact of lockdown

Andrew is 81 years old. He lives by himself and suffers from macular degeneration and arthritis. Even before the lockdowns, Andrew felt very lonely, often alone and unable to do much physical activity at all.

Without the skills to use a computer, the pandemic could have been a truly awful time for Andrew, but fortunately, he found a very special friend to help him through. Margaret is a Digital Buddy who volunteers for Leonard Cheshire. She supports people like Andrew in learning basic computer and online skills, such as accessing emails, learning how to use accessibility tools, and helping them navigate the world of social media and video calls. During the pandemic, volunteers Digital Buddies like Margaret were lifelines.

Margaret opened up a whole new world to me – I didn’t realise I could do all the things she taught me!

The difference Margaret made

“I was suffering from loneliness before Covid hit. I found the lockdowns extremely difficult, and it was beginning to impact my mind.” Andrew told us. “But Margaret opened up a whole new world to me – I didn’t realise I could do all the things she taught me! Now I can email and keep in touch with the outside world. I’m able to smile now.”

Margaret has even taught Andrew how to use Google Earth. He loves to visit places he has been in the past and reminisce. He has friends all around the world and enjoys using Google Earth to see where they live and the places they visit too. “What a difference this has made to my life. It’s all because of Margaret. She’s such a wonderful volunteer. So patient with me and encouraging, she has changed my life for the better!”

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