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Red Cross members get digital with a little help from Telstra

Telstra's Digital Excellence team shared their knowledge and skills to improve digital literacy for Red Cross members.

Tuesday November 25, 2014

Red Cross member Catherine learns how to take a digital photograph on the iPad with the help of volunteer April.

Being confident and literate with technology is an essential skill in the digital age. While many of us are enjoying the benefits of connectivity, the digital landscape is still new to some people. Yesterday, volunteers from Telstra teamed up with Red Cross members to teach them how to use the internet for both personal use and to help them better connect with Australian Red Cross, their fellow members and Red Cross news from around the world.

As digital technology grows, Red Cross continues to embrace opportunities to improve emergency response, better connect with the people we work with, and more effectively communicate news and program information. Claire Bevis, Red Cross' National Membership Manager, says, "this innovation is critical to our ability to respond to our client's needs and to being accessible to people looking for help or looking to get involved. But it's equally important that we make sure all of our people come with us as we move forward in the digital age-and that includes our members."

"Around 35% of our members are online, which is fantastic, and we're keen to encourage more members to get online. It means we can communicate with them more quickly, which is crucial as they are the face of Red Cross in the community."

Before yesterday's training, some members had never used the internet. Armed with an iPad and the help of Telstra volunteers, members were up and surfing the net in no time. Parramatta Branch member, Stella Carr, was surprised at what you could find, "You can watch videos of old songs from the 50s. We didn't have that in the old days!" Other members hoped to be able to connect with family overseas via Skype and Facebook.

Telstra volunteer Anthony shows Judy and Stella how to get online.

Heather Rea, Digital Literacy Advisor from Telstra's Digital Inclusion team says, "a lack of skills and confidence in using the internet is the main obstacle to going online. But with a little bit of guidance and a little bit of practice, there's no reason why older people can't jump online and be even more connected to the global Red Cross Movement. We're so happy to volunteer our time to help out with that."

This year, to celebrate 100 years of Red Cross in Australia, members, volunteers and the public were encouraged to share their Red Cross stories on a dedicated Centenary website. Today's training enabled these internet newbies the chance to look at some of this digital story telling and think about how they can share their stories with the wider Red Cross community.

Telstra partner with Red Cross to identify areas where Telstra can provide volunteers to enhance skills and knowledge in the areas of digital literacy, social inclusion and connectedness.