By Cal Chester, Community Development Support Worker.
TDC is currently working in Woodingdean as part of the Ageing Well project. This project sees a variety of organisations from across Brighton and Hove working together to engage with older people in the community, linking them up with community groups in the area or enabling them to create their own projects. These groups and activities can provide significant health and wellbeing benefits to people in later life.
One area we have identified where older people might miss out is in benefiting from new digital technologies to communicate, create or just for fun. This is known as the ‘digital divide’, where economic barriers or lack of knowledge means individuals and groups are unable to either access the internet or use the technology (phones, tablets and laptops) given them by relatives.
Although they may feel nervous and unsure about using their tech, with the appropriate support and encouragement people can become much more confident and competent and greatly improve their quality of life and sense of wellbeing. Learning these skills can be of particular benefit to those who may have be more isolated in the community, allowing them to connect with and communicate with others even if they have mobility issues.
As part of TDC’s work with the Ageing Well project in Woodingdean we have been supporting older people to gain access to IT and enabling them to use their devices to shop, stay in touch, research and learn. We have worked with people ranging in age from 55 to 91, supporting them to do a wide range of things with their devices – from setting up and using e-mail accounts and joining ‘WhatsApp’ to using their on-line accounts to communicate with housing support and other services.
We are currently providing a weekly ‘drop in’ IT session at The Java Cafe, 23 Warren Way, Woodingdean, BN2 6PH from 1.30pm – 2.30pm each Thursday afternoon. Over 50’s in the Woodingdean area are most welcome to come along and learn in a relaxed social space.
If you know of anyone who might want to come along, please do ask them to contact me on [email protected] or on 07500 474 641.
Ageing Well is a service in Brighton & Hove which helps people aged 50+ find activities, groups, trips, befriending, and information in order to get the best from life.
The service is delivered in partnership by a number of organisations across the city, all of which already deliver work with older people. The service can link people to cafes and centres, groups & activities, befriending, information and advice, multi-cultural activities, LGBTQ specific activities and volunteering opportunities. To access the service, please call 01273 322947.