Volunteering from your mobile
Turn2us’ latest volunteer opportunity, the Digital Buddy role, can be done from absolutely anywhere with a mobile phone signal!
Digital Buddies provide a hand to hold for people looking for financial help. They provide invaluable emotional and practical support to help people through hard times in their lives, all from the convenience of their phones.
To find out exactly what being a Digital Buddy is like, I recently spoke with one of our very first volunteers, who took part in our initial pilot.
Liam said: “The day-to-day tasks of being a Digital Buddy were actually pretty simple. Turn2us would set me up with someone who was trying to claim a benefit, but found it difficult, and I would help in any way I could. Sometimes it’s just giving really straightforward information like what number to ring. Sometimes it was more complex and occasionally they just needed someone to listen to them.
“My phone is always on and by my side anyway, so in one sense I was always doing it, but because it mainly involved replying to texts it wasn't very time consuming. I probably spent just over a couple hours a week actually speaking to people.
“Being a Digital Buddy was my first volunteer role and it was perfect for me because I could do it all over the phone. I would recommend it to anyone who knows a bit about the welfare benefit system and wants to make a real difference to people’s lives. Also, if it's harder for you to get out and about or simply don’t have the time to travel to volunteering opportunities, becoming a Digital Buddy is great way to get involved at your own pace!
“One of the first people I spoke to was a lady who was just moving back to England after working abroad for a few years. She’d had a kid while she was away and really struggled with claiming Child Benefit. We spoke for a few days and I helped her understand some of the trickier questions on the form and in the end I believe she successfully claimed it and also got it backdated three months!"
The impact Digital Buddies have is almost disproportionately large to the amount of time they spend. Through so few hours, so many people have been able to jump over whichever obstacle stood before them and get through a stressful, difficult process to get the financial help they need. We plan on launching the project in full by early 2019 and need more Digital Buddies to help more people in need of financial support.