About The Event
Together with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) we held an event for our volunteers at IBM Southbank in London on Friday 1 June - the start of Volunteers Week. There were around 120 attendees from across the two charities at the event, which was all about celebrating the great work of our volunteers.
Sarah Brain, AbilityNet Free Services Manager and one of the event organisers, said "I can't think of a better way to kick off Volunteers Week than to have so many IT volunteers together in one place to celebrate the fantastic work they do. There was a real buzz on the day, some amazing presentations and workshops about the future of tech, and it was a great opportunity to get our volunteers together during Volunteers Week."
On The Day
In the morning we had presentations from industry experts including Robin Christopherson, AbilityNet’s Head of Digital Inclusion, who spoke about technology including Microsoft Soundscape - maps in 3D sound for those with a visual impairment. Plus we heard about Robin's daily podcast Dot-to-Dot for everyone who is "dotty about Alexa" and the funny Amazon Echo spoof video from Saturday Night Live was shared.
We also heard from Robin Spinks, the RNIB’s Innovation and Technology Relationships Manager, who spoke about Microsoft's Seeing AI app, a talking camera app for those with a visual impairment - on a recent trip to a local zoo Robin was able to use the app to tell his son which animals they were looking at. Robin also spoke about Waymo - the driverless car which could greatly increase independence for people with disabilities. One attendee said "I enjoyed the variety of speakers... Hearing about new apps was especially interesting."
In the afternoon we had a variety of interactive workshops including disability awareness training from Enhance the UK - a charity run by people with disabilities. The session challenged the attitudes and perceptions of disability and in other workshops assistive technology were talked about and demontrated.
The event was a great success with one attendee saying "Many thanks indeed for a great event - I was very pleased to have the opportunity to come along, and so valuable to meet the AbilityNet team face-to-face. I picked up lots through networking as well as during the sessions. What a lovely lot of friendly people!"
Sarah expressed her gratitude to everyone who made the day possible - "A huge thanks to IBM for hosting us in their state-of-the-art client centre. It was also great to see our friends from other charities, the Stroke Association and Family Fund discussing how we can work together to support stroke survivors and families with children that are disabled and/or seriously ill. Thanks to Amazon, OrCam and Hands Free Computing we had demos of the latest technology and how it can enhance the day to day live of people with disabilities."
Find Out More
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AbilityNet's volunteers provide free IT and computer support to older people and people with disabilities of any age. Is there anyone you think is eligible and could benefit from our support to get the most out of their technology? Please share details of our Free IT Support at Home services with them.