Funding boost helps elderly residents become computer savvy – Oldham Council
Posted on 2nd March, 2016
Elderly residents in Chadderton are becoming more computer savvy, thanks to a partnership between Oldham Council and Age UK Oldham.
Research shows more than one million people living in the UK feel lonely, out of touch and cut off from society. In an attempt to get elder people engaged in new technology and prevent digital exclusion, Chadderton District Executive has provided funding to Age UK Oldham to carry out computer classes in the area. The local charity’s Technology & Us service is already creating a buzz at their weekly sessions at St Herbert’s Court with an army of eager learners attending.
Councillor Graham Shuttleworth, Chair of Chadderton District Executive, said: “It’s great news to hear that so many people are reaping the benefits from this service. We recognised there was a need to help elderly people from becoming digitally excluded and socially isolated. I’ve been told that it’s making the users feel more confident, reducing boredom and more engaged in a world that relies heavily on computers and digital technology.”
Age UK Oldham offer one to one tuition, a laptop/tablet rental service and the computer learning classes. A personal learning programme is devised for those who sign up – putting the user in control in an unpressured environment. Some learners have purchased their own tablets and laptops and now enjoy their new found skill at home away from the class.
Maggie Hurley, from Age UK Oldham, added: “Technology can enhance later life, so we don’t simply teach you how to use a computer, we look for the reason you need to use a computer and then show you what to do. Our volunteer tutors and mentors are patient and experienced. We understand how difficult it can be to get started, but the friendly and informal way we approach your learning journey will make learning fun. Our older learners told us that sometimes using computers can be confusing and frustrating. However, the classes have helped them to overcome the anxiousness and fear towards computers. Now, the computer has become an inseparable part of their daily routines and used as a new tool for communication.”
Dorothy Gregory, aged 82, from Chadderton, said: “The classes have brought a great deal of pleasure into my life. Using a computer was quite scary, but now I feel more confident with the help of these classes and it has given me something to occupy my brain. I’d recommend the classes to people of my age. If they are fearful of the computer, they shouldn’t be because there’s a big world out there at their fingertips.”