A 12-month pilot project has been launched to encouraging older people living in South Tyneside to learn how to use a computer and access the internet.
The ‘Get Online’ project is being delivered by Age Concern Tyneside South (ACTS) and will target older people aged 50 and over living in Cleadon Park, Hebburn and South Shields.
Newly-established housing provider, Karbon Homes has awarded the project a £5,900 community grant to deliver free six-week digital inclusion programmes so that residents can access the service to help them sustain their tenancies.
Karbon Homes was formed through a merger of Isos Housing and Cestria Community Housing with Derwentside Homes and started trading as one business last month.
One-hour sessions will be delivered by experienced facilitators and are ideal for older residents who have little or no IT experience while also engaging those who already have experience. Each session will be tailored to meet the needs of residents’, at a pace suitable and appropriate to their level of skills and knowledge of those participating.
The sessions will teach them how to use a computer and the internet safely, online banking, communicating online, shopping and ordering online, and how to access many of the local services and activities that are available across South Tyneside that contribute towards their health and wellbeing.
Sean Gladwin, Chief Officer at ACTS, said: “A lot of older people often have preconceptions about the internet, safety concerns or a lack of confidence. The ‘Get Online’ project aims to provide community-based support and development from beginners to those more experienced in an informal, relaxed environment.
“All sessions are free and available to older residents living in the South Tyneside area. Each session will be tailored to meet the needs of those participating and delivered from three venues, two of which are based in the community making it even more accessible to residents.
“By working in partnership with Karbon Homes, we will be able to aid more residents to become digitally involved, helping them to access more of their services online.”
Lindsey Porter, Community Involvement Officer at Karbon Homes, said: “We are pleased to be able to support this project, which will help our residents to become more digitally inclusive.
“There are over 500 Karbon Homes’ properties in South Tyneside that have residents aged 50 and over and who would benefit from this project, so we will be working closely with Age Concern Tyneside South to target and inform those.
“Everyone who participates in the project will receive a bespoke programme, tailored for their own individual learning and development needs and we hope this will encourage residents to keep active, socialise and sustain their independence for longer.”
Age Concern Tyneside South will encourage participants that have more IT experience to become IT champions to share experiences and engage with more people. It is hoped that this will lead to new employment opportunities which will have a positive impact on the local and wider community.
The sessions will be held at the following venues:
Mondays from 1.00pm-3.00pm at Hebburn Central, Glen Street, Hebburn, NE31 1AB
Wednesdays from 1.00pm-3.00pm at Cleadon Park Library, 10 Prince Edward Road, South Shields, NE34 8PS
Thursdays from 10.00am-12 noon at Age Concern Tyneside South IT suite, 29 Beach Road, South Shields, NE33 2QU
For more information about the ‘Get Online’ project or to book a place, please contact Age Concern Tyneside South on 0191 456 6903. Places are limited.