ClickSilver celebrates 10 years of combatting loneliness

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Learn how Business in the Community’s (BITC) ClickSilver programme has helped older UK residents overcome loneliness over the past decade.

For a decade, BITC’s ClickSilver programme, sponsored by Capital One, has helped older UK residents use technology to gain confidence and improve their digital skills. This programme has been particularly important over the last few years due to COVID-19. The restrictions imposed as a result of the pandemic exacerbated existing feelings of loneliness and isolation for many older people. Technology became the only safe way to connect with friends and family outside the home, however, many older people without digital skills were seen to be isolated.

“Capital One UK is really proud to see ClickSilver, a programme we have supported since its humble beginnings 2012, celebrate its tenth anniversary this year,” says Dave Richards, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Capital One. “Since we first started developing the programme with Business in the Community, we have always recognised its potential. It’s fantastic to see this being fulfilled through its evolution into the current ClickSilver format. It brings us great pride to now have other businesses support the programme and help take its impact to scale across the UK.”

“Since we first started developing the programme with Business in the Community, we have always recognised its potential. It’s fantastic to see this being fulfilled through its evolution into the current ClickSilver format. It brings us great pride to now have other businesses supporting the programme, helping take its impact to scale across the UK.”

Dave Richards, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Capital One.

About the ClickSilver programme

ClickSilver’s success and longevity would not have been possible without the support of business volunteers. Pfizer partnered with BITC through the ClickSilver programme at the beginning of the pandemic, with over 150 colleagues volunteering. Roos, a business volunteer from Pfizer, explained that “the pandemic heightened the need for digital inclusion, which can only be solved by human beings. This shows just how important initiatives like ClickSilver are. A small act of sharing skills we use every day, and often take for granted, can make a huge difference to someone’s life.”

“The pandemic heightened the need for digital inclusion, which can only be solved by human beings. This shows just how important initiatives like Clicksilver are. A small act of sharing skills we use every day, and often take for granted, can make a huge difference to someone’s life.”

Roos, business volunteer from Pfizer.

Rosie, was mentored by John at Capita through ClickSilver and found the programme to be hugely beneficial during the pandemic. John helped Rosie gain confidence in using her laptop and Android phone. He supported her in learning about Gmail, Outlook, Excel, WhatsApp, Google, and Basic Android navigation. Thanks to John and these new skills, Rosie said “my confidence has improved 100%. This has helped so much with other important areas in my life for example, sending important documents abroad. It gave me that confidence to face things head on, getting help from John to think logically to solve problems and to develop a strategy to reduce stress. I’m confident now and don’t panic when I can’t do something.” As a result Rosie can now send photos and download apps to follow her family who live abroad.

“My confidence has improved 100%. It gave me that confidence to face things head on, getting help from John to think logically to solve problems and to develop a strategy to reduce stress.”

Rosie, beneficiary of the ClickSilver programme.

Benefit to mentors

The programme not only benefits its mentees like Rosie, but it also has a profound impact on its mentors. Roos described how, “my mentee’s perception of her own digital competency went from three out of ten to ten out of ten within the space of four weeks. She knew a lot more than she thought and just needed someone to help her. She now even uses Instagram! Her joy for life has really stuck with me and on reflection I’ve probably learnt just as much as she did from me in our virtual sessions together.” Roos elaborated that the programme allowed her and her colleagues at Pfizer to build on their own essential skills such as listening and problem solving, as well as learning how to better understand and empathise with older and vulnerable participants.

“I would encourage anyone to be a mentor, just listening is a huge skill and understanding the needs of your mentee and how you can help them. It gives you such a massive boost.”

John, business volunteer from Capita.

Similarly, John from Capita explained, “in terms of skills and patience, the programme has enabled me to approach things in a calm and methodical manner both in my professional and personal life. I would encourage anyone to be a mentor, just listening is a huge skill and understanding the needs of your mentee and how you can help them. It gives you such a massive boost.”

Connect to the ClickSilver programme

BITC is excited to see ClickSilver, a programme that has given so much to both its participants and volunteers, enter its tenth year. In addition to equipping its participants with practical technical skills to feel more connected online, it also forges a supportive relationship between mentor and mentee that combats loneliness and isolation.

If you are a business who would like to get involved in supporting the initiative, or an individual interested in enrolling, contact the ClickSilver team.

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