ITea and Biscuits week is Age UK´s 5th annual digital inclusion campaign to introduce older people to the benefits of digital technologies and the internet. Its latest edition took place from 17th to 23rd September 2012. Technology taster events were delivered by Age UK´s and other organisations.
To disseminate the information about the event, digital marketing – Facebook, Google, Twitter, as well as a dedicated webpage and an online event finder – and offline marketing was used. There was national and local media coverage (incl. newspapers, magazines, TV and radio). Promotion was also done via Age UK retail shops (excl. London and Greater London areas) and via the support given by Go-ON founder members. A dedicated Freephone information line was also part of the promotional campaign.
Evaluation of the event
In the UK (including Northern Ireland), 6,445 people took part. Whilst this is a decrease on last year´s estimated participation figures (7,000), the average attendance size per event has increased from 7 people to 16. Around 25% of participants claimed to have ‘never used technology or the internet before´. 20% of participants were ‘first time visitors´ to events. From the survey sample, event appreciation indexing shows that 56% of participants rated their experience as ‘Very Good´ and 44% as ‘Excellent´. The majority of participants were recorded as wanting to ‘learn more´ as a result of their visit. 34% of respondents ‘Strongly Agreed´ and 50% ‘Agreed´ that Itea and Biscuits Week is an effective model for engaging older people and addressing digital inclusion barriers. 84% of respondents claimed they would take part in Itea and Biscuits Week again, with the remainder claiming they didn´t know yet. Of those 84%, nearly 80% also said they´d be interested in participating in similar campaigns.
A survey of ITea and Biscuits event holders gave the following results. Respondents ranged from Age UK´s, Libraries, Sheltered Accommodation, Adult Learning Centres and Councils, UK online centres, educational settings, lunch clubs and hobby groups.
PR & Media Only a handful of respondents reported using the downloadable media materials such as media guide, pre/post press releases and media Q&A´s. The sample size was too low to extrapolate any meaningful data. However, of the handful of respondents who rated the materials, nearly 43% claimed the media guide was ‘Extremely Useful´ and 57% ‘Fairly Useful´. 43% claimed the pre-event press release was ‘Extremely Useful´ and 36% ‘Fairly Useful´. The post-event press release and Q&A´s were least rated. – Marketing materials 4521 participant packs were requested by event holders. These contained our popular “Making the most of the internet” and “Internet security” guides. On the whole marketing materials – such as A3 posters, paper banners, participant packs, participant feedback forms, online help sheets and videos – were cited as ‘Extremely Useful´ and scoring an appreciation index of between 50% and 60%. Balloons, downloadable posters, stickers and the event planning guide were cited as only ‘Fairly Useful´. When prompted for feedback about the individual resources, several respondents (13/38) claimed that the posters didn´t offer enough space to include details of their events. Other feedback, included requests for more downloadable help sheets which proved very popular with event holders – particularly the ‘Running a session on how to text message using a mobile phone´ (http://www.ageuk.org.uk/Documents/EN-GB/Digital%20Inclusion/Itea%20and%20Biscuits%20Week%202012/top%20tip%20guide%20to%20mobile%20phones.pdf?dtrk=true)
When asked whether there were any materials that could assist them in planning and running events in the future, items such as branded t-shirts, badges and USB sticks loaded with help sheets and videos were requested. – Event holder communication When asked if event holders found the regular campaign bulletin useful in communicating campaign news and activity, over 70% of respondents agreed it was useful whilst 21% claimed not to know about it. Nearly 40% ‘Strongly Agreed´ and 60% ‘Agreed´ that they felt fully informed about the aims of the campaign.
In the previous year’s campaign, there was excellent media coverage including articles in national publications such as The Telegraph online, Yours Magazine, Choice Magazine and Prima.