Techie Tea Party

Every year, I organise for myself and a team of volunteers to visit a local elderly people’s home in Paddington for a day to help the residents with their IT problems. We are allocated one day of volunteering a year so I choose to use it working with the elderly, who often get forgotten about. A few of us from the Digital Stores team were able to utilise our skills to really help make a difference in people’s lives. We brought along some M&S cakes and sandwiches to make it into a ‘I-Tea Party’.

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I had some help setting up the day from the charity ‘Time for Paddington’, who do some excellent work in the local community helping all sorts of people with the aid of volunteers.

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The range of technological issues ranged from things as simple as sending a text message, all the way to creating and editing a video using specific software. All of the residents were thrilled with the day and in the end we managed to help over 40 people. Some people just came in for some cake and a chat, but when so many elderly people are isolated with limited social interaction, an event like this really made their day.

One member of the team also went the extra mile: a gentleman came in with an iPad outside of warranty and with an extremely outdated iOS. We tried to update the iOS but the iPad kept crashing and it was very puzzling why. As we couldn’t figure it out during the day, one member of the team took the iPad home with him, fixed it up in his own time and delivered it back to the gentleman at his flat the next day. Talk about top notch service!

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This was also a great way for us to understand our core customers. Being able to observe the way they operate technology and understand the way they think is vital for us to improve our products through technology to make them more usable.

A big thank you to the team who volunteered. We have now set a trend since our first year and other companies have also started holding techie tea parties for the elderly. Was a wonderful day as always and we will hopefully be doing the same thing again next year!

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