How I started 121digital in Galway

I currently live in Galway having moved here in the last year after leaving a lengthy career in Financial Services. I took some time off to travel, study, reconnect with people and do some voluntary work for a school in The Gambia.

It is great to be back in the west of Ireland now! What I love about the community is that it is warm, there’s a diversity of people who are friendly, there’s a great culture and lots of support when you look for it.

I also love working with people and connecting with them and have been involved in various initiatives such as Junior Achievement and Dress for Success and am currently involved with Galway2020. That’s what brought me to ChangeX.

Why I picked 121digital as the idea to start

I’m interested in intergenerational projects, connecting young and old. I feel both generations have so much to give and share with each other. It was for this reason I was attracted to 121digital as it connects young and old where the younger teach the older on their iPads, phones & Laptops.

For the older generation, it gives them an opportunity to learn at their own pace, keep up with technology, stay independent in the modern world and mix with younger people. For the younger generation, they realise how much skill they have to pass on, connect with the older generation and learn more about them. The class creates great camaraderie between both generations.

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The challenges were different from what I had expected

I thought my biggest challenge would be getting enough people to attend the class and was frantically putting out posters, tweets, calls for people to attend. My fears were quickly allayed when the class was oversubscribed in a very short space of time.

The other challenge was to get tutors to help. As the success of the class depends on having one to one tutoring, you need a lot of them! Luckily, I volunteer with Galway2020 who have a host of amazing volunteers and I was able to get people from there to help out. Normally, 121digital has transition year students tutoring; however, we flipped this a bit and had young adult teaching older adult learning.

We all got a lot out of it from the very start

So far, we all had great fun with our first set of classes and we will definitely run more. Everyone got something out of it. The learners got huge benefit. Some arrived to the class with their iPads still in the box and left knowing how to Skype, do internet banking or pay bills. The tutors also learned about their communication style, discovered how much they know already, learned about new devices. Everyone learned at their own pace and made lovely friendships along the way.

Just one piece of advice

For anyone considering setting up one of the ChangeX projects, here is one piece of advice I got from Fintan Mulligan, the founder of 121digital, was to ‘put a start date in the diary, work towards it and trust that everything else will fall into place by that date’. I followed that advice and thankfully it all worked out!

You can register your interest to start 121digital in your community or school right here. ChangeX will give you all the support you need to get it done, starting by connecting you to someone who has done it before. Find out more about ChangeX or just register your interest here to start 121digital.

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