Social Impact Award

Phil Branigan

2020 National Winner

Phil is a volunteer Digital Champion with Clarion Housing, and runs a regular computer drop-in session at a sheltered housing scheme for the over 55s in Basingstoke. He also provides peer support to other volunteers through the Digital Unite online forum.

Teaching has always been a natural extension of my own learning. Being good with technology requires the ability to always think like a beginner as things change so rapidly. I get great satisfaction when I see people comprehend something that they thought was beyond them. I love using a bitesize technique whereby each nugget of information can be practiced and absorbed, so that complex features and functions become easily comprehendible.

I support learners to do anything and everything, for example create shopping lists, use maps and travel services, listen to music, watch videos and keep up with the news. Whatever they want to attempt, I try to make it possible for them. If someone can understand and use digital technologies like the internet effectively, it enhances their lives and those of their family and friends.

Many of my learners have dexterity, hearing and sight issues which I help them with by setting up their devices to suit their needs, and in all my tutoring I put privacy and security at the core of the learning process. Keeping people safe is always my priority.

In our fluid electronic world, I don’t think I will ever stop learning, and my family, friends and learners help to keep me on track so that I don’t become stale.

Paula Blackledge, Digital Champion Coordinator said, “Phil’s passion for digital technologies and the benefits it can bring to someone’s life is what has driven him to support so many people as a Digital Champion, and his mentoring of other Digital Champions through the forum has been fantastic. We ask a lot of him, but he is always so willing to help, and so knowledgeable.”