DigiLocal People – George

George began volunteering with DigiLocal in April 2018. He supported our weekly club in Yate until the COVID-19 pandemic closed all our in-person clubs. George then joined our move online and supported young people every Thursday evening. For many young people, our clubs were the only educational content they were receiving as many schools were not able to operated online at the start of the pandemic.

George supporting a young person with their Scratch code at Emerson’s Green Library

With the return to in-person clubs, George joined our club at Emerson’s Green. A change in work place meant this was easier for him to make each week.

We asked George why he spends an hour of his time each week supporting young people as a volunteer mentor with DigiLocal.

So the key reason is that I really like being a software developer and learning about computers so helping out the next generation in terms of educating, I am all for it. 

There is great evidence on the benefits of volunteering for those volunteers. DigiLocal works closely with STEM Learning and other volunteering support organisations to ensure our volunteers are fully supported and beneficial to volunteer mentors, as well as those being mentored. The statistics are great, but we wanted to know what George gets out of volunteering with DigiLocal

What I get out of volunteering is a lot of satisfaction!

As I have already mentioned, I really enjoy being a software developer and seeing the young people having a eureka moment in terms of understanding how computers work, gives me satisfaction. 

It is like putting a seed in their mind and watching that seed grow. 

There are lots of opportunities to volunteer, with national organisations as well as smaller local charities like DigiLocal. Why did George choose DigiLocal?

They are local! I was born in Bristol and lived there the most of my life. It was the right choice. 

As noted before, George has been volunteering with DigiLocal since 2018. When volunteers join there’s no formal commitment to keep volunteering for a specific length of time. Our clubs run for as long as we have young people that would like to attend, and volunteers willing to support them. Keeping the club experience fresh and exciting for volunteers over such a long period is a key part of why we try to do at DigiLocal. So what kept George coming back?

It has and still is, a great experience. Truly wonderful working with young people and the other volunteers.  An enjoyable experience. 

Inevitably over such a long volunteering period, there will be many memorable moments. We were keen to hear of a couple that stood out for George in particular.

When a young person ask for assistance after trying to code at home – in a environment of teaching 

Young people showing initiative and going for it. 

There are also, inevitably, times when things don’t go well.

This is a tricky one as it has been really fun. Prior to volunteering at DigiLocal, I have never really worked with young people but everyone is very supportive. I was able to get in the swing of things. 

Supporting the volunteers is a core part of what DigiLocal does to ensure that young people from underrepresented backgrounds have the opportunity to discover and develop their digital talents. We’ll leave the final words to George.

I have been volunteering just over 4 years and it has been nothing but pleasure and will recommend volunteering to anyone to get involved.

George recently spoke about his volunteering on the Laura Rawlings Show, listen below

From left. Laura, Souya, Pandora, John, and George
(BBC Radio Bristol, Laura Rawlings show, 24 July 2022)