April 1, 2018, by Lucy

ClickSilver: My Volunteering Experience

Last term, every Wednesday from 1-3.30 I was enrolled in a volunteering scheme, ClickSilver. Instead of spending my afternoons staring ta my laptop whilst convincing myself I was being productive, I decided to do something that was actually worthwhile. ClickSilver is a scheme run by Business in the Community, Capital One and Age UK in which students from UoN and NTU are enlisted to help teach older adults get to grips with the technological world.

In my case, my partner, Hyacinth, was quite adept at using technology already meaning that my job went beyond the basics. Instead of wanting to learn how to operate a computer, it was her business that Hyacinth wanted help with. As an author, public speaker and entrepreneur, she wanted to bring her services into the 21st century through the creation of a website. Now, I’m not talking coding or computer science here, I’m just talking about wix and all that jazz. Thus, every week our time was spent creating a template and personalising the website for her needs. By the end of the seven weeks we had launched the website and, not to blow my own trumpet or anything, the results were quite astonishing. It’s amazing what a little time and effort can do.

As well as helping to changing an older person’s life in terms of their technological advancement, some great friendships were made both between the older and younger students. In many cases the programme was the only instance where the older student would leave the house, something which is sad but also a great feat of the scheme: helping reduce loneliness whilst increasing social cohesion between the generations. Me and Hyacinth are now FB friends and are hoping to keep in touch with each other, I must say when we parted ways for the last time I was genuinely saddened.

Besides from creating friendships and a sense of fulfillment, another thing you can create is an amazing CV. Since the scheme is funded by Capital One (you know, the credit card company), the organisers make sure that the university students involved have the opportunity to enhance their career prospects directly through the company if they so wish. Whether this be through tours of their head offices in the city centre, 1:1 advice or even internships, Capital One show a direct investment in its participants’ futures. Away from this, the scheme has helped developed my patience, communication and creativity skills, as well as opening up my eyes to a whole new career – before the placement I’d never have dreamed about working up front with other people! So, who knows what the future holds?!

If you do have a spare second, I would definitely recommend volunteering, whether it be with ClickSilver or not. The results are 100% worth any time or commitment spent!

Posted in Lucy