Volunteer of the Year 2022 - Runner up
Well, I'm delighted to announce that I was awarded the 1st Runner-up in the North Yorkshire Volunteer of the Year awards in Harrogate on Friday 30th September.
This was in recognition of my work with Citizens Online, addressing digital exclusion in the North Yorkshire Area.
I also worked with a number of local groups, including Ukrainian and Syrian refugees, the local women's shelters, disabled person groups, and OAPs, providing hardware support, with laptops supplied by RebootNY, and also refurbishing clients' laptops at cost.
I spent time helping with skills development, both in person and remotely via web chat, and telephone. Addressing problems with Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android devices. I'm not an expert in all these, but in the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
You would be surprised how much you actually know or can work out when needed, and very little beats a good Google or Youtube search
It is surprising the difference a small solid-state drive, a memory upgrade and a jolly good clean can make to a system - with even 10-year-old laptops running Linux Mint like new. £20 - £30 can bring new life to an old system and make a lifeline from what would otherwise be scrap. You could argue that computers don't have to be expensive, but £150 for a cheap laptop isn't always possible, especially with the cost-of-living increases, etc.
In a world where digital literacy is essential, where employers, health providers and businesses expect (demand) customers and staff interact electronically, where everything needs online access, and where hardware is disposed of rather than repaired, it is disgraceful that some people are left without - either due to cost or experience/knowledge.
So, the next time you upgrade your laptop or desktop, just consider that there are others less fortunate than you who could use this "ancient" tech to make a difference in their lives.
I understand that GDPR and privacy concerns often override - especially in a corporate setting, but at least investigate the options. Donate to a local refurb charity, wipe the hard drive and install Linux Mint or similar, and pass them to a local group. Google is your friend - and there are similar groups in every area.
And also remember, things no longer come with user guides, and the frustration you feel when Microsoft changes the position of the taskbar or something in the Word Ribbon is multiplied 1000-fold for someone who has limited expertise. Help out and help address this challenge - computers and the internet are not going away, so use your skills and support your neighbours.