Generation Exchange goes virtual
Generation Exchange, a small North London based charity launched a new digital project in January 2020 which has brought teenagers and older people together online during Covid-19.
Generation Exchange is an intergenerational charity whose aim is to provide fulfilling, educational intergenerational opportunities to children, young and older people. The charity was set up in 2016 and started working with St Anne’s straight away. The charity developed a digital inclusion programme; “IT Exchange” whereby Year 12s work 1:1 with older people to help them improve their IT skills. Over the past 4 years the charity has recruited over nearly 100 Year 12s from the school. In fact St Anne’s has been working with Leonie Eisenberg who runs the project, for over 14 years on similar projects when she was working at Age UK Enfield.
With the pandemic, Generation Exchange’s face-face work was suspended and St Annes’s and the charity worked together to to create a virtual edition of the IT Exchange programme which launched in January 2020 This academic year, 2 projects have been delivered- first was a 9 week session from January and then a 5 week session in June and July. In weekly supervised sessions via Teams, 23 volunteers across Year 12 were recruited, trained and supported to provide IT support to older people. Their role has been to plan and deliver presentations to 23 older people aged 60+ on a variety of IT topics including the how to set up a zoom account, installing apps and online shopping. We also partnered with another charity to deliver an online safety session and we held a virtual quiz. One of the older learners said “Thanks to the volunteers, I was able to install the zoom app to host a meeting, and I actually had a zoom meeting with my family. They too were so excited that they asked me to host another one today.”
Generation Exchange’s Project Manager, Leonie Eisenberg said:
“I’ve been so impressed with the dedication and willingness to collaborate from the school and volunteers involved. Their support is of direct benefit to so many local older people, where digital skills have become even more essential as a result of the pandemic.”
Maria-Cristina Geraci commented “It is a fantastic project for our young people and it is a pleasure to see the benefits and support they are offering to older people in the local community. Each week our older learners have been logging in to Teams to learn something new and spend time with their student teachers. The experience has been fantastic to watch. Throughout the sessions stories of many different kinds are always exchanged, creating such a nice virtual atmosphere.”
For more information about the project please contact Leonie on 07713937811