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Irish couple star in feature film on Hi Digital skills programme

5 Jun 2024Vodafone Foundation news
2 minute read

Vodafone Foundation’s Hi Digital skills programme is featured in a new video produced by BBC StoryWorks Commercial Productions as part of ‘The Human Component’ series.

Following the story of Patrick and Liz Downes from Cork in Ireland, the video shows how Patrick learns online skills through intergenerational Hi Digital classes.

The Hi Digital programme helps people aged 65 and over improve their digital skills and online confidence. 76-year-old Patrick rediscovers his passion for woodworking by embracing the digital world with Hi Digital. He is supported by his wife Liz, a Girl Guide leader and Hi Digital Champion, and the local Girl Guides Unit.

Patrick was initially feeling disconnected and uninterested in modern technology following his diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. But he overcame his fears, exploring the internet for woodworking tools and to keep in contact with his granddaughter. The Hi Digital programme helped Pat’s resilience shine as he navigates the digital world, guided by Liz and the local Girl Guides.

Liz Downes, reflecting on her involvement with Hi Digital, said: “It's about more than just teaching digital skills. It’s about fostering connections and breaking down barriers that can leave older generations feeling isolated.

“Through Hi Digital, we're building bridges between generations and creating a sense of belonging for everyone.”

‘The Human Component’ Consumer Technology Association series highlights innovative technologies that are helping to support a more resilient planet, stronger societies, and healthier communities. It can be viewed online at

In response to the growing issue of digital exclusion among older adults, Vodafone Foundation, with charity partner ALONE, launched the Hi Digital initiative in 2021.

The free online Hi Digital course is split into short lessons that teach people how to access the internet, use smartphones, stay safe online, and identify and avoid scams and fraud.

Hi Digital has to date supported over 60,000 older people in Ireland. It aims to directly change the lives of half a million older people across Europe.

In 2023, Vodafone Foundation launched a partnership with the Irish Girl Guides to offer Hi Digital classes around Ireland. As a result, 25 Girl Guides units across the country have already been trained as Digital Champions. In turn, they have trained over 2,000 older people.

The video also features Vodafone’s store team in Oliver Plunkett Street. At this store and others in Ireland, older people have a weekly opportunity to drop in and get free, practical support and advice on phones and tablets.

Judy Collins, Vodafone Retail Advisor in Oliver Plunket Street, said: “I am delighted to see this video come to life, showcasing the fantastic impact the Hi Digital initiative has on the older generation. It's heart-warming to witness stories like Patrick and Liz's and see first-hand how Hi Digital is empowering older people.

“It is giving them the knowledge and tools to navigate the digital world, reclaim their passions and stay connected with loved ones. We are thrilled to be able to provide this support”.

  • Consumers
  • Digital enablement
  • Digital skills
  • Digital skills & Education
  • Financial inclusion
  • Smartphone
  • Vodafone Foundation

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