Computer Security student goes the extra mile to help elderly


by Lucy Billington-Groom

As Christmas draws ever closer it’s the time of year that we feel the need, as a nation, to help those around us. I spoke to a De Montfort University student about the Square Mile project he’s involved with and why more of us feel the need to offer our services during the winter months.

William Dilling, pictured , a computer security student, has been regularly participating in drop-in sessions to aid the elderly in the use and understanding of technology for the past three months.

The project is run by De Montfort’s own Square Mile in which students visit community centres in Leicester and the public can come along and get help with their technology based issues.

The sessions are free and there is no sign-up required. With a varying attendance every session it’s a very relaxed and non-committal environment.

Each session is easy-going and takes on a question based structure and, if you have no idea on what to ask, they start with a basic walk through: how to log in, how to get on the internet, how to type, etc.

When asked about his motivation behind his volunteering William said: “It’s a real feel- good experience, not being from Leicester it allows me to feel more connected to the community and I feel like a real part of Leicestershire life.”

The project is called IT4Free and they provide a set of computers to work with or you can bring your own device: phone, tablet or laptop for specific help.

In recent years it has become more imperative that the elderly are able to access and use new technology, “everything is going digital,” said William, “bills, banking, and even more recently pensions which is a worry for many of the people that see me for help.”

William continued: “It doesn’t particularly help with my studies but does help build me as a person and makes me more unique in an employability sense.”

It’s around the holidays that traditionally people become more charitable. “It’s helping people in a time that is hardest,” states William, “it’s cold, it’s a time to share with family and if you don’t have family then it can be very isolating. No one deserves to be alone especially at a time dedicated towards family in such a large way.”

When asked about students being stereotypically lazy and selfish William replied, “I think we’re the same as everyone, I don’t think there is a difference young or old it’s how you were brought up, if you’re not helping people now chances are you never will.

“It’s you as an individual that makes a difference despite age, race or gender.”

So embrace the season of giving and perhaps give a little of your time this Christmas.

IT4Free can be found at Woodgate community centre on Wednesday 1.45pm-3.30pm.

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