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Leek u3a's Digital Champion Robert

Published : 22 May 2023 Views: 2191

u3a Digital Champion Robert, member of Leek u3a

Robert from Leek u3a has been helping his members with their technical needs. The Leek u3a committee have piloted and set up drop-in sessions where members can bring their devices and queries. Robert and the tech team can then offer one-off fixes or ongoing support and training for those who want it. 

Here is what Robert had to say about the first drop-in session held in April this year.

We had a wide range of committee and member support experience available including retired IT professionals with extensive experience in Microsoft, and people familiar with using Apple and Android products and software packages.

Members requested support on areas such as the ‘basic’ set-up, use and familiarisation with hardware and software across the platforms, to more complex issues which required the more experienced ‘enablers’ to help. The team also helped members with accessibility, for example making their devices easier to see and use

There were lots of issues around account management; members were supported to recover lost passwords and access locked accounts. Advice was given on generating, and keeping passwords safe and how to manage them.

Suggestions from attendees for future sessions and general advice included:

  • Buying advice (with a disclaimer!) with a focus on reducing unnecessary purchases i.e. buying a laptop, when a cheaper tablet could have been more accessible. 
  • ‘Best practice’ advice on managing passwords
  • Security and scam awareness 
  • Device ‘housekeeping’ i.e. cleaning unused data, tabs and emails to free up storage and enable devices to run faster was also suggested. 

Members found the session really useful, particularly those who did not have family nearby who could help them. Some said they would much prefer to learn how to do things for themselves with ongoing training, rather than having ‘things done for them.’

There was a very positive ‘buzz’ during the session, and members expressed thanks and relief for getting the support provided. Several members said how frustrated and distressed they were about not being able to use the tech they had. Providing emotional support, confidence building and reassurance was vital to reducing this frustration.

Members appreciated the informal support and the easy access to the event. They mostly arrived with specific issues that they felt they were supported with. Our committee agreed we will offer similar drop-ins on a monthly basis.

Leek u3a Flyer Cropped

For more information, read Robert's document: Leek u3a Tech Drop In Sessions - Detailed Structure on how to run these sessions.

Leek u3a Tech Drop In Sessions - Detailed Structure (42.78 KB)

Robert honed his tech skills and learned how to upskill others through the Barclays Digital Eagles ‘Digital Champion’ programme.

The programme also includes discussions of the ‘soft skills’ needed to enable people to gain confidence in using tech, and topics such as making software accessible, online safety and account security. 

The Learning team at u3a has been working with the Barclays Digital Eagles who are encouraging more u3a members to become Digital Champions. They have given us these step-by-step instructions on registering:

Steps to becoming a Digital Champion

  1. If you haven’t used our learning platform before, sign up to Barclays Digital Wings here and use the code U3A1 in the ‘Company Code’ box (this code will help us identify you as a u3a Digital Champion and we can make sure the right people are aware of the impact you’re having). If you have registered for Barclays Digital Wings before, go to step 2.
  2. If you’re an existing Barclays Digital Wings user, or have just completed step 1, go to the Digital Champions page, read the info and register using the ‘Already using Digital Wings’ option (don’t forget to add ‘u3a’ when it asks if you’re a Digital Champion from an organisation)
  3. Within a couple of days, we’ll send your welcome email with the next steps and how to complete your training and book your sessions (there are a range of days and times available)

We would love to help more members become Digital Champions in their regions and get more of these support sessions set up – in whatever format would work best for your locality. If you sign up for the Barclays Digital Eagles programme or want to start something similar in your u3a please let us know!

Get in touch with us by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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