Brian Hassell, his wife Nola and a trusted group of volunteers, have run Mustard Seed for the past 17 years out of Glen Forrest Uniting Church.
Mustard Seed - a voluntary organisation offering support to digital beginners and improvers - is one of the organisations who joined the Be Connected Network in September.
Francesca Hall, Head of Digital Inclusion at Good Things Foundation, joined Brian for a typical support session, observing their ‘blended learning’ approach.
Fran says “It was fantastic to see a digital literacy session in action in a community environment. Mustard Seed offers a relaxed, welcoming environment with varied sessions; after learners received a demonstration about how to scan photographs, they then progressed to using the group’s own purpose-built learning website, some receiving one to one coaching and some doing independent practice. The group have a wide range of computers and laptops but also offer support if older Australians bring in their own devices, using their online learning platform. It was clear that the Mustard Seed volunteer tutors supported and guided learners based on their interests and needs. ”
Mustard Seed is the ‘go to place’ for older Australians in their area. Being based outside of Perth, Brian and Nola are aware that everyone is quite spread out in the area, so the group aims to provide a social interaction for learners as well as vital support to become digitally engaged.
“There was a genuinely friendly feel about the session,” says Fran. “Individuals enquiring after each other, and a bag of lemons and oranges from a gentleman who has ‘enough to fill a ute at home’. A real community environment and a great way to pick up some vital skills!”