Capital One: lasting connections through lifelong learning

ClickSilver Connections, sponsored by Capital One, has helped thousands of older UK residents boost their tech skills, overcome fears, and feel more connected thanks to the support of responsible business volunteers.

ClickSilver Connections, sponsored by Capital One, has helped thousands of older UK residents boost their tech skills, overcome fears, and feel more connected thanks to the support of responsible business volunteers.

Credit card provider Capital One has been a member of Business in the Community (BITC) for over a decade. Throughout its membership, the business has worked to develop its approach to responsible business, delivering benefits for its employees and the communities it serves. They have committed to equality and diversity by signing the Race at Work Charter, and demonstrated an innovative and collaborative approach through membership of BITC’s East Midlands Leadership Board. Capital One has also pioneered exemplary community involvement to support the lives of older people by sharing digital tools and skills.

Tackling loneliness while sharing digital expertise

Capital One has played a hugely significant role in developing and leading BITC’s ClickSilver Connections programme, which matches business volunteer mentors with people experiencing loneliness, isolation, and digital exclusion. Although the programme is open to people aged 18 and over, ClickSilver particularly focuses on supporting people aged 50 and over, especially if they lack the confidence, skills, and awareness of digital tools that can help navigate the challenges of isolation.

The restrictions necessitated by COVID-19 have exacerbated feelings of loneliness and isolation for many older UK residents. Age UK, a strategic partner of BITC, released research in 2019 that projected that by 2026, 2 million older people will report feeling ‘often lonely’1 . Other Age UK surveys suggest that 50% of older people (equivalent to 5 million people) say that their primary source of company is the television or a pet2. Alongside reduced opportunities to socialise and experience human contact, loneliness can also pose severe threats to mental and physical health, with the UK-based Campaign to End Loneliness reporting that the impacts of isolation are medically comparable to obesity or smoking3.

Recognising the potential benefits of using technology to stay connected to loved ones, and have conversations with new people, Capital One has worked with BITC to bring major upgrades to ClickSilver during the pandemic. Alongside training employee volunteers to support older people to use digital technology and communications platforms, Capital One also donated tablets to over-60s, offering them a tool to talk with family and friends anywhere in the world.

Digital inclusion is a core pillar of Capital One UK’s Corporate Responsibility programme and we’re very proud of everything ClickSilver has achieved since 2012.

Dave Richards, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Capital One UK

Having supported over 1,700 people since 2012, the ClickSilver programme is going from strength to strength with Capital One’s leadership and support. Its expansion into remote, online sessions between older people and volunteers has helped the programme reach more people4. It has reduced feelings of loneliness, and improvements in confidence, digital skills, and wellbeing for participants, while supporting employee volunteers to develop their coaching skills, empathy, and engagement levels.

Speaking about the programme, Dave Richards, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Capital One UK says “digital inclusion is a core pillar of Capital One UK’s Corporate Responsibility programme and we’re very proud of everything ClickSilver has achieved since 2012. Many of us take for granted our ability to use laptops, tablets, the internet and e-mail, and forget that a lot of older people struggle to keep up with technology. With a greater reliance on technology than ever before, we’re excited to see the programme evolve into this new version ClickSilver Connections and reach even more people than ever.”

We would like to thank every BITC member giving time, skills, and support to older people across the UK through ClickSilver, including:

Capital One, Allianz, Aviva, AXA, Capgemini, Capita, DAC Beachcroft LLP, Dixons Carphone, Herbalife Nutrition, Federated Hermes, HM Revenue and Customs, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Irwin Mitchell LLP, Jacobs, Jaguar Land Rover, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, Mercer Marsh Benefits, Pfizer, Reward Gateway, Ricoh UK, Salesforce.

Building skills to change lives in your community

There are many ways your business can make the most of the skills and experiences of your people to create lasting, positive impacts in communities, while providing human touchpoints to professional development. If you are a BITC member, contact your Relationship Manager to discuss how we can support you to create life-changing opportunities for your colleagues, communities and colleagues. Not sure who your Relationship Manager is?

If you are not a BITC member, contact BITC’s Advisory Services team for more information on how you can embed a responsible approach to your employment and skills programmes.

what if everyone felt included?

References

  1. Age UK (2019) Loneliness (England) Policy Position Paper, March 2019.
  2. Age UK (2021) Testing Promising Approaches to Reducing Loneliness.
  3. Campaign to End Loneliness (no date) Risk to health
  4. Nicola Burton (2021) Clicksilver moves to virtual coaching supported by Capital One, Business in the Community.