LGMA/Age Friendly Ireland Digital Ambassadors Programme comes to Meath


LGMA/Age Friendly Ireland Digital Ambassadors Programme comes to Meath

Digital Ambassador Programme

The Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) Libraries Development Unit and Age Friendly Ireland have partnered to launch the Digital Ambassador Programme. This programme aims to support older people access online library resources, particularly while physical library services are suspended as part of government measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

A total of five Meath Library staff have undertaken training to enable them to provide online tutoring sessions to older people in Meath. Through these tutoring sessions, older people will be empowered to access the fantastic range of online library services with a particular focus on BorrowBox which is used to download books and audio books to a phone or tablet.  It will familiarise older people with getting on to the internet and downloading apps which should empower them to participate in other online activities, e.g. exercise classes, singing, zooming, etc. In time this may even give participants the confidence to become mentors themselves and show their peers how to do the same.

Jackie Maguire, Chief Executive of Meath County Council and host to the Shared Service, Age Friendly Ireland, said; “Isolation of people of all ages is a significant risk during the COVID pandemic, particularly during periods of tight restrictions on movement and social interaction. It is of huge importance that people, including our older population, are supported in staying connected with their communities, using all available services and supports during these challenging times.  This programme will empower older people to access the fantastic range of library services available online.  It will familiarise many older people with getting online, enhance digital literacy and engagement and will encourage individuals to participate in other online activities, such as exercise classes, singing, zoom chats, and so on”.

Building on the success of the peer-to-peer pilot that saw members of Age Friendly Ireland’s Older People’s Councils participate in training run by AFI and Libraries Development to help older people get online, the ambition for this Programme is for the online training to be rolled out nationally through the 48 Age Friendly Library Champions in libraries around the country.

Chair of Meath’s Older People’s Council, Ita Healy said, “I was involved in the Age Friendly Libraries Digital Ambassadors pilot with Age Friendly Ireland and Libraries Ireland and it’s been great.  Providing training for some of my peers to use the on line library and Borrowbox was one of the most challenging, yet one of the most rewarding tasks I’ve undertaken since engaging with Age Friendly Meath.  It meant a lot to the people we trained but it was also a lifeline to those of us in the Older People’s Council who became trainers, volunteering to engage with this meant we met with others, albeit over the phone, built up a relationship and got immense satisfaction in helping them to keep up with their hobby that might otherwise have been curtailed during lockdown”.

To find out more please contact Meath Library e-Services Team by calling 046 909 7361 or email eservices@meathcoco.ie