When Ian retired in 2019, he wanted to use his spare time to share his IT knowledge with others in his local community.

Having worked within the IT sector for over 40 years, Ian had the knowledge and skills to educate others who needed basic computer training and support. So, when he saw a vacancy for a Digital Champion volunteer in his local library, he decided to apply.

As a Digital Champion, Ian teaches, encourages, and empowers individuals to navigate day-to-day online services by delivering one-to-one education and support sessions at his local library.

‘’Teaching the courses is great, as it gives people the skills to use basic computer equipment. However, there is also the personal side of being able to help people out. It is definitely rewarding.”

Many people who attend his sessions want to learn basic computer skills or need to access library equipment and may not have a computer at home or the necessary skills to access digital services.

Ian enjoys the variety of the Digital Champion role and the opportunity to support older members of his local community; from helping someone redeem an online shopping voucher, to teaching them how to search the internet, or navigate an automated telephone system. These are just a few examples of where Ian has provided guidance and support.

‘’We see a lot of the same people coming back each week, so you tend to see many of the same faces over time. It’s great being able to meet different people, to develop a relationship with them, and get to know them as friends, not just someone who came along to learn about computers.”

Particularly for many older members of the community, the concept of using computer equipment can be confusing, intimidating, or overwhelming. However, through sharing his knowledge and support, Ian has removed many barriers for those attempting to access digital services.

‘’I would recommend volunteering to other people, and the role as Digital Champion in particular.”

This is a great case of how volunteers can share their own interests and skills to educate and empower others, as well as how you can make a difference in your community through volunteering at your local library.

If you want to see what volunteer roles are available at your local library, simply enter your town or postcode here and select Libraries, Museums and Archives as your ‘area of interest’ to view volunteering opportunities near you.