By Claire West
Boris Johnson's pioneering Team London programme to increase volunteering across the capital, is currently recruiting hundreds of young people to teach 600 over 60s how to join the online world.
Based on the highly successful 'Cities of Service' model, backed by 100 city Mayors, and 50 million Americans, since its launch in New York in 2009, Team London also targets volunteers to address the greatest needs of city residents.
Since 2008, the Mayor's programmes have already galvanised tens of thousands of Londoners to help improve quality of life in the capital. Team London is now seeking to to mobilise an additional 10,000 volunteers across the capital to work with organisations to cut crime, increase youth opportunities and reach out to isolated groups through the Mayor's drive to improve quality of life.
To this end, Boris Johnson has provided over £200,000 to enable 600 older people to learn valuable computer skills from 375 volunteers aged 16-18, recruited through Age UK London's MiCommunity digital project. Getting the ball rolling, this week, volunteers from the MiCommunity programme, will take part in Age UK's national ‘I.Tea & Biscuits’ week of free tutorials for the over 60s, with over 60 events happening across London. Team London volunteers will assist with local ‘I.Tea & Biscuits’ sessions in Croydon, Sutton and at City Hall on, 20th, 21st, and 22nd September.
The funding from the Mayor will allow Age UK London and MiCommunity to place young Team London digital volunteers in 10 of London’s boroughs, based on the most need.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: "Pairing up digitally savvy youngsters with older people who may be utterly bewildered by the Internet is a fantastic way to bring different generations together and bust the myth that modern technology is exclusively the preserve of the young. This brilliant project will help many older Londoners discover that the Internet is an easy and inexpensive way to keep in touch with friends and family or explore new interests and communities."
Samantha Mauger, Chief Executive of Age UK London, said:
"We’re really excited about pairing up with the Mayor on this exciting project, which we believe will be just as rewarding an experience for younger people as it will be for older people. It will provide the perfect opportunity for both groups to work together, helping to bridge differences and challenge negative stereotypes."
The young volunteers trained through the MiCommunity project, backed by the Mayor, will teach older people how to use the internet to email, download photos, shop online, or use programmes such as Skype, and social media as easy ways to get online and stay in touch. Those taking part will also learn basic computer skills if they don’t have any, how to use mobile phones, especially to surf the net or use a digital camera.
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