A Year 11 student from Wigan is helping hundreds transform the lives of some of the borough’s most in need residents by helping them go digital.
Sam Boffey, who is a student at Standish High School and a UK Youth Parliament Member, was the first person to sign up to the TechMate programme organised by Wigan Council as a way of helping those in self isolation across the borough get online and use the internet to enhance their lives, keep in touch with loved ones, and look after themselves.
Through using his digital skills, Sam has helped numerous people over lockdown by connecting them with friends and family through technology.
Speaking on the TechMate programme, Sam said: “The TechMate scheme is a programme that was launched by the digital team of Wigan Council [and] it aims to help people who are socially isolated and don’t have access to digital technology to get online through the help of there own personal Tech Mate.
“The programme has been extremely beneficial to many people over lockdown and has enabled people to connect with friends and family through technology.”
He continued: “I was the first TechMate on the scheme and have helped to pioneer the programme and engage over 50 more people to get involved with the number constantly rising. The scheme is great and highly beneficial to me and to the learners.
“I would recommend anyone thinking of getting involved to sign up.”
So, what does being a TechMate actually involve then?
As a TechMate, people use their passion for digital to transform the lives of some of the borough’s most in need residents, while adding something invaluable to their CV.
Those involved will provide one-to-one support over the phone or via video to help people learn basic digital skills, such as using the internet, email and everyday apps, and communicating with friends and family online through social media and video calls.
Staying safe online, transacting online, using council and government services and banking / shopping, creating documents, and taking and sharing photos are amongst the other things support is provided for.
Most TechMate sessions run for one to two hours each week.
Participants are encouraged to keep things flexible and arrange calls at times that suit both them and their TechMate learner.
You can find more information and volunteer to become a TechMate via the Wigan Council website here.