[Updated 19/03/20 with more details of volunteer requirements]
[Updated 31/03/20 with location details and timing]
The Coronavirus outbreak has meant we are going into a period of disruption and turmoil unlike anything that most of us have ever seen before.
Being forced to isolate is difficult for everyone, but it’s particularly hard for older people who don’t necessarily feel comfortable using tech to stay connected and may be living alone (there’s 3.8m people over the age of 65 who live alone).
Last year we launched April — which is a tech support service designed for older people — which should be the perfect way to make sure that older people make the best use of technology in situations like this. But April is a tiny start-up and we have realised that we can’t possibly help enough people ourselves.
For the next few months — whilst things are at their peak — we‘re not going to charge for the service and instead we’ll make it free for anyone in the UK who needs it.
So we’ll be a phone support team available to provide help on everyday tech issues. Think: setting up WhatsApp video, getting an email account or help shopping online at Tescos.
But we can’t do it on our own — we need help from YOU.
Our aim is to get this up and running at the beginning of April so we need to move quickly.
We’re going to launch in the UK between 4–8pm weekdays to begin with. Once we’re up and running we’ll extend the hours of coverage (and maybe even the countries we’re in).
There are a few things you can do to help:
- Volunteer to do a regular shift providing tech support help by phone.
We’ll give you the phone system, a briefing on how to approach it and support whenever you need it.
You just need a computer with a good internet connection and a headset/microphone and the willingness to do some basic, patient problem solving. If you have particular areas of expertise you can tell us on the application form.
You can do one hour a week or 40, it’s up to you.
And if you’re working from home already you can use that extra hour you’re not travelling to help other people!
If you can help, please fill in this form.
- Get the companies you work for to help. That could be:
- donating some money to help cover the basic costs. We don’t need a lot but the phone systems and airtime will cost something if we are successful in helping lots of people.
- giving us access to any promotional channels once we’re up and running
- encouraging team members to get involved
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help
- Share this with people — we need to get a decent number of volunteers in place quickly.
- Send us ideas of how we could do this better and smarter
Thanks for reading and get in touch email@example.com if you want to get involved.