A ‘silver surfer’ dedicated to helping elderly people become digitally enabled, training them how to use technology, is in the running for a national award - but needs your votes.
Thorpe Arnold man Raj Khuti (59) is involved with the not-for-profit social enterprise Seva Solutions which was set up to empower elderly people by giving them the technological skills and tools they need to be able to connect with the world, helping them to overcome isolation and loneliness.
Raj, who is already helping elderly people in Melton and villages around the borough, has been shortlisted for a TalkTalk Silver Surfer Digital Hero award which carries a £5,000 prize.
He’s one of five shortlisted UK nominees competing for the title. The winner will be decided by public vote, with the overall awards winner, chosen from all 10 category winners, chosen by a panel of judges for a £10,000 prize.
Raj said he got involved with Seva Solutions because he wanted to ‘give something back to society ‘by helping the older generation to become digitally independent.
One of the people he’s been helping, after being put in contact with the drop-in club at Gloucester House, is Melton woman Ethel Allen (76).
Thanks to Raj’s help she’s had an Android-powered device installed which enables her smart TV to become a fully functioning interactive computer, enabling her to see information more easily on a larger screen, while still enjoying the normal benefits of her TV. Raj has also shown her how she can easily operate her ‘TV computer’ using a wireless keyboard and Ethel’s Hudl device has also been synchronised to work with it.
Raj has also helped elderly users, including Ethel, by setting up a GPS tracking app on their mobile phones. By simply pressing a button they can alert family or friends if they need help in an emergency.
Raj said: “Ethel needed to be independent. For someone who’d never handled a computer in her life she’s come such a long way within the year I’ve been working with her. She’s now quite capable of emailing, Skyping and can browse the Internet. The next thing we’ll be working on is shopping safely on the Internet.”
Ethel said: “Raj has been a great help and he’s very patient. My family are all scattered around. All I had before was a telephone to speak to my daughter and sister in Australia but now I can use email and Skype I feel closer to them.”
Raj, who is CRB checked, works on grants and donations which cover his expenses. As a not-for-profit social enterprise, whatever money is made by Seva Solutions at the end of the year goes back into the initiative.
To vote for him you’ll first need to register on the TalkTalk Digital Heroes website digitalheroes.talktalk.co.uk
Once registered you should be able to vote by visiting http://digitalheroes.talktalk.co.uk/silver-surfer-digital-hero/
Voting ends on September 8.
To get in touch with Raj email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07974 972664.