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“Look outside the square”

Bloomhill Cancer Care host digital skills training sessions in their op shops on the Sunshine Coast.

By Good Things Foundation Australia · 20/01/2019

Bloomhill Cancer Care is a charity that assists people to live well with cancer. They provide psychosocial care to patients, carers, and other family members. Bloomhill’s op shops are an integral aspect of their model to generate the funds required to care for people with cancer, while also creating a unique social experience for their volunteers.

Bloomhill Cancer Care is a Be Connected Capacity Builder, and are hosting digital skills training sessions in 10 of their op shops located throughout the Sunshine Coast.

Beth, Bloomhill’s Be Connected program administrator, says, “As more and more day-to-day tasks are needing to be accessed online, like My Gov and My Health Record, we saw a need for some of our older clients to learn digital skills so they can access these things easily and feel secure and confident in doing this.”

Beth, along with the support of other volunteer digital mentors, hold a minimum of 2 training sessions per month, one at their wellness centre and one at their op shops. Their first “off site” training session was held at Nambour Op Shop, with 9 people in attendance. The shop manager, Lyn, had two dining suites at the shop for sale. While a sale of these items would be good for their fundraising efforts, the hope in the days leading up to their training session was that these wouldn’t be sold they’d have somewhere comfortable to sit!

During the sessions, they ask participants to first create a Be Connected account and then browse through the topic library, choosing which ones they’re interested in or will help them to increase their online skills depending on their current level of digital knowledge. Feedback from their community has been extremely positive, with many participants commenting on how much they’re learned in a short 2 hour class.

Beth advises, “Always look outside the square. Instead of seeing an unusual training venue as an issue, look at it as a fun, unique environment that adds to the experience. I also always have treats on hand during the training (chocolate, biscuits etc.) as a sugar hit, but also as a way to make the space look more inviting!”