27/09/2022 - Permalink

Help with digital confidence for Shropshire’s older residents

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Free help to use the Internet and get to grips with technology is now available for Shropshire residents aged over 65. Five hundred older people will benefit from a Shropshire Council-funded service through a network of volunteer-led friendly IT clubs based in libraries and community settings.

Over 65s who want to feel more confident using their mobile phones, tablets and laptops are encouraged to sign up for support. Volunteers with good levels of IT literacy and able to give a few hours of support each week are asked to get in touch with their local library or community learning centre.

People who have benefitted from the initiative are delighted with their new-found confidence and keen to recommend others to take the plunge into learning.

Mike Clarke from Shrewsbury admits to being converted. He said:-

“I realise now that the Internet is a wonderful tool. I can see the benefits it brings, and I don’t think I would go back to life without it now.”

Volunteer Jenny Eastham with 80-year-old Mike Clarke

Volunteer Jenny Eastham with 80-year-old Mike Clarke

Ludlow resident Helen Whiteley, said:-

“Getting one-to-one help from my digital volunteer each week at the library has given me a positive new outlook. I look forward to being online now and feel much better about life in general.”

Volunteer Allan Read and 67-year-old Helen Whiteley

Volunteer Allan Read and 67-year-old Helen Whiteley

Mike Wason from Bayston Hill explained:-

“I felt left behind, I couldn’t even send a text. But with each session at the Roy Fletcher Centre I could see myself improving. The support was fantastic, and the volunteers made me feel so relaxed that I looked forward to my time at the IT Club each week.”

An avid Wrexham supporter, Mike now watches matches live over the Internet. He has signed up to the NHS App and recently travelled to Iceland using his digital COVID-19 pass. The app also enables him to order prescriptions quickly and easily. Mike and his partner Sue Harrison regularly enjoy video calls with family in Sweden, and are managing their finances using online banking.

Mike Wason, age 73, with partner Sue Harrison

Cecilia Motley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for communities, culture, leisure and tourism, and transport, said:-

“As we move further into accessing services digitally, it is important that no-one feels left behind and out of touch.

“These sessions are an excellent way of learning in a friendly environment.”

Free digital support is available for people aged 65+ and living in the Shropshire Council area. Free tablets and connectivity are available for people in greatest need.

For more information and to join the waiting list for support, contact your local library or learning centre. Personalised IT sessions take place weekly in most libraries and through community settings at:

Shrewsbury’s Roy Fletcher Centre – 01743 341300 and
Church Stretton’s Mayfair Community Centre – 01694 722077.

A learn-at-home service is available for people unable to access community provision through Age UK Shropshire Telford and Wrekin – 01743 233123.