Oliver Stevenson

Last week I was invited along to a pilot event that we ran in conjunction with one of our partner charities; Age UK. The event was called ‘Tea and Teach’ and the purpose of it was to get older consumers comfortable with using digital technology.

Recent research has shown that many older people are being digitally excluded from modern society, as their lack of engagement with new technologies means that they are missing many of the opportunities that we take for granted, such as shopping around online to get the best deals.

During the event last Tuesday, volunteers from Age UK worked alongside our most digitally savvy colleagues, known as our ‘Digital Eagles’, in order to help people from the local community dip their toes into the ever-expanding ocean of new technology. The aim was to help overcome some of the mystery and uncertainty surrounding the information superhighway, and to show how helpful and intuitive it can be if you give it a try.

I had thought that we’d be limiting ourselves to talking about Barclays’ online products and services, but on the day I was surprised and delighted to witness several octogenarians being introduced to websites  like Amazon, Google and Facebook.

We were also fortunate enough to have a celebrity ambassador there for the session. Gordon Banks, perhaps the finest goalkeeper in the history of football, kindly agreed to participate, which attracted numerous fans, as well as journalists from a several local media channels.

Gordon is the grandfather we all wish we had. At the spritely age of 75, he chatted to everyone there as if they were old friends, shared stories about his annual golf trip with the 1966 World Cup squad and about ‘that save’ from Pelé in 1970, and even told a risqué joke or two. Without him, the event certainly wouldn’t have been as much of a success. 

Overall I think that it’s fantastic that Barclays is committed to helping a demographic that’s all too frequently overlooked by many large organisations, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what other projects come out of our on-going relationship with Age UK, as well as with our other partner charities.