Council-funded initiative scoops award

Published: Tuesday, 25th June 2019

An initiative aimed at providing IT training for older people has led to an Oxford student winning a Vice Chancellor's Social Impact Award.

In 2016 a grant of £3000 was used by OX50+ to start IT training for older people. Oxford University student Albert Gifford volunteered his time and lent his expertise; the training initiative got underway. 

Oxford City Council's Blackbird Leys Community Centre provided the initial venue. Thanks to Albert's encouragement, other University students got involved and the initiative spread to other venues.  

Margaret Simpson from OX50+ said: "Albert encouraged so many other students to volunteer, which helped the initiative to expand to other venues across the city including the Town Hall, Barton Neighbourhood Centre and East Oxford Community Centre and Rose Hill Leisure Centre." 

Cllr Pat Kennedy, Oxford City Council's Older People's Champion, said: "This was money well spent. A relatively small grant from the City Council three years ago was used to kick off this community initiative that is now reaping the rewards. My thanks to Albert for his hard work and congratulations on winning the award."  

Albert Gifford said: "It is very easy for older people to feel isolated when everyone is using and talking about technology they don’t understand. I believe our classes help people get a basic grasp of many aspects of modern technology and to feel less in the dark."

The Vice Chancellor's Social Impact Awards are now in their tenth year and are awarded to Oxford University students who have shown exceptional achievement and commitment to positive social change. Awardees have been recognised for their commitment to volunteering, raising funds for charities, campaigning, launching social enterprises and carrying out pioneering research. The Awards are a joint initiative between Oxford University and the Oxford Hub.    

To find out about volunteering with the IT classes visit the Oxford Hub website.