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Making a difference: Arlene’s story

Making a difference: Arlene’s story

When Covid-19 came along, many older people found themselves isolated with limited knowledge of the digital world. One of our learners, Arlene, has written about the impact ACE IT has had on her life throughout the pandemic and beyond.


I heard of ACE IT through a fellow member of my Rotary Club. But it was not until Covid arrived and we were spending a lot more time online that I decided to find out more about it.

When I left school in the 1960s, we used pen and paper. That’s how I proceeded through university and work until the 1990s, when my boss announced that a computer was arriving on my desk and I would have to speak to him by email. For several months it sat there unused until a young fellow from IT came and showed me how to switch it on. My progress was slow.

Several years later, I did a course at a local college which was very helpful but I realised that there were many aspects of the keyboard which still remained a mystery to me. I was able to carry on, however, by asking more experienced people to help me or even to do certain tasks for me.

Image of an older woman looking at the camera wearing glasses

When I retired I thought I could stop worrying about it, but in fact Rotary required me to keep sitting at the keyboard and also to learn how to Zoom for many meetings.

I contacted ACE IT and was very quickly partnered with a delightful young man who lived some distance from Edinburgh. We met online weekly and I asked him all kinds of questions which he patiently answered. He helped me try out actions which I had not realised existed, and that gave me confidence. I found this a more helpful and enjoyable way of working than doing a “course”.

I would not hesitate to ask for more help in the future. I would say to anyone, no matter what their skill level, that using ACE IT to become more IT proficient is an excellent way forward. I am grateful for the help and friendly advice which I received from my volunteer tutor, but I am also very impressed to know that through ACE IT, care home residents were given the opportunity to communicate with their loved ones during the terrible isolating times of Covid. It must have been a lifeline for many family members.


Want to help more people like Arlene? Volunteer with us! Or if you need help with digital devices, get in touch by calling 0131 667 2053.