A new Leep Hub has opened at Bidwill Uniting.
Bidwill is an area of Western Sydney that experiences a disproportionate amount of disadvantage across a range of indicators including high percentages of unemployed people (double the national average), single parent families, low income households, the largest urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations in Australia, many of whom are survivors of the stolen generation and continue to be affected by the trauma inflicted on them as part of this policy, and higher than average rates of people experiencing disability, mental health issues and poor health generally.
For these reasons Leep was keen to provide digital mentoring in this area. Thanks to Michelle, a member of the Bidwill Uniting team, this was made possible. Having transitioned from construction work to the community sector, Michelle, now 39, lacked the computer skills necessary to work in an office and undertake her TAFE studies in community services. Her only association with computers came from the messages she was told by her parents; “Don’t touch it, or you’ll break it!”.
As well as initiating the Leep Hub at Bidwill Uniting, Michelle, with much courage and determination is now a regular learner and a keen champion for encouraging others in the community to face their fears and get the assistance they need to get online safely and confidently.
This program would not be possible without Digital Mentors.
Bidwill is privileged to have Michel (the French spelling of Michael) as one of their digital mentors. Michel travels weekly from Greystanes to Bidwill to mentor this community. Previously working in the IT industry in demanding roles such as Global Manager for 3P Learning (they do Mathletics – if you have school aged children you may have heard of this) he’s currently in transition and exploring other career options. It was his wife who found the ad on GoVolunteer (Seek) while they were driving one day and piqued his interest. Michel told us if this was 10 years ago he wouldn’t have been such a patient mentor but now he really enjoys seeing the transition as learners like Carole progress in their knowledge and confidence getting online.
Carole – a learner at Bidwill Leep Hub
Carole, 68, already has a hand-me-down iPhone and with assistance from her daughter had knowledge of a few apps (kitting and crafts are her favourite) but this has expanded greatly since coming regularly to the Leep hub. Having raised 4 children, Carole spent much of her working life in factories (during the Vietnam War she was making army boots), housekeeping and being a nanny, so Carole had little experience with computers. In the Leep Hub Michel is mainly teaching her how to use her laptop. With age Carole’s eyesight is decreasing making the laptop a more user friendly experience as pictures can be viewed easier than on her phone. Lately she is learning how to post pictures on Facebook, manage her photographs and use a mouse. When asked what was the biggest highlight coming to the Leep Hub, Carole’s face lit up and with a huge smile she replied “seeing my grandchildren on Facebook”. Carole has 15 grandchildren and 3 step grandchildren. We asked Carole what she’d say to others who fear learning how to use technology. “Give it a go. I did and it’s really fun!”