Luisa Brands is the Founder and CEO of Oldalone UK. Oldalone's aim is to reduce the number of older people affected by loneliness and to make sure they can lead a fulfilling and meaningful life. Dagile have been delivering a series of training workshop's to the older Latin-American and Spanish communities based in London, to help them with their Cybersecurity and staying safe online.
We recently interviewed Luisa to understand the impact the Introduction to Cybersecurity course has had on the communities Oldalone UK support.
Hello Luisa, can you tell our readers who you are and what your job entails?
Hello, my name is Luisa Brands and I am the Founder and CEO of Oldalone UK.
My day-to-day job entails running the organisation by taking care of most of its administrative aspects but fundamentally, channelling opportunities and available resources to further our aims. As a charity led by individuals from minority groups, we have a track record of supporting vulnerable people from diverse backgrounds, predominantly from the Latin-American and Spanish speaking communities.
Since 2015, we have given support to 1,000's of beneficiaries through community projects and activities which focus on helping address and alleviate the impact low socioeconomic growth has on this minorities-based population.
What made you enrol your beneficiaries onto the Introduction to Cybersecurity course?
Around 85% of our beneficiaries are Latin-Americans and Spaniards aged between 30 and 82. Unfortunately, their lack of English Language and Digital Skills act as a major barrier, as it hinders their ability to access help and opportunities.
Driving marginalised communities towards social change through education and positive encouragement is at the top of our agenda. According to the Lloyds Consumer Digital Index Report (2021).
“The older an individual, the more likely they are to be digitally excluded. However, one-in-ten of those offline are under the age of 50, indicating there are still broader factors, other than age, at play”
From this standpoint, the need to address this gap, is crucial.
What made you choose Dagile as a training provider?
Working on the issues that affect our community requires not only a clear vision but a shared commitment to improve people’s quality of life and their access to better opportunities. Hence, we have forged alliances and partnerships with local authorities, organisations and academic institutions like LSBU to advance Digital Inclusion for underrepresented communities.
The fantastic opportunity to work with Dagile came through LSBU inviting us to take part in their digital learning project at their campus. Thanks to this partnership and the resourceful input of both Dagile and LSBU, this project had an outstanding response from the targeted community, becoming a huge success.
Why is digital inclusion important for those you support through Oldalone UK?
Latin-Americans are part of one of the fastest growing communities in the capital. Many started arriving in UK by the late 60’s but after the 2008 financial crisis and Brexit, many more came from all over Europe seeking better job opportunities.
Attaining IT Skills for an effective learning outcome promotes:
- Digital Inclusion and improved English Language Skills.
- Greater social integration.
- Prevents social exclusion, loneliness and isolation.
- Improves learners’ confidence, wellbeing and mental health.
- Gains them social mobility, knowledge and independence.
- It can also increase their chances of access better paid jobs to move up the economic ladder.
Has the training helped the communities develop new skills and what opportunities have they had to implement them?
Undoubtedly, the training has not only equipped beneficiaries with the technological knowledge to perform basic operations, such as; turning a computer on; creating a document using word processor; creating an e-mail address together with a strong password; saving documents; sending and receiving e-mails; doing online searching; and learning how to identify potential cyber-security threats, it has also gained them new skills in; organisation; time-management; communication; and English Language Skills.
They have also had the opportunity to implement their newly acquired digital knowledge together with the new skills in their day-to-day life, at home and in the workplace. Many are accessing online tutorials to enhance their IT knowledge or just exploring the internet for other learning and job opportunities.
How are your charitable aims benefiting from these new skills?
As a charitable organisation, the benefits are measured by both subjective and objective KPIs. Primarily, the channels of communication have widened. We have been able to send e-mails and instant messages to clients who not long ago, did not know how to reply to an e-mail or use their laptops or smart phones to receive and send instant messages.
The interaction between clients has also increased through the creation of WhatsApp and other social media groups which helped promote friendships and collaborations.
Clients’ requests for help with basic online tasks have also decreased by a third. Most importantly, the main benefit for our organisation is seeing our clients living happier and more fulfilling lives, with the skills acquired through the Introduction to Cybersecurity course.
Thank you Luisa for your time. Do you have any final thoughts you would like to share?
We would like to express our heartfelt and unreserved thanks to Dagile and LSBU for making us part of this fantastic initiative. Working as a team to help bridging underrepresented communities with the digital world has giving us all the opportunity to take the concept of unity, diversity and social inclusion a big step forward.
Certainly, the world has become a brighter place for the dozens of brave learners who decided to join and successfully complete this programme. A special appreciation to Dr Safia Barikzai, Sandra Turner, George Bamfo and their wonderful team of collaborators and volunteers for their invaluable input. God bless.
Thank you Luisa for sharing the Dagile and Oldalone's collaboration experience with our readers. We hope this exploration of working in partnerships inspired other third sectors organisations supporting underrepresented groups o get in contacts to see how Dagile can help.
We encourage our readers to look at the Oldalone UK website to see more of the amazing work you are doing for the Latin-American and Spanish communities across the UK.