Residents from an Anchor Hanover development in Chepstow have been preparing for Christmas early, thanks to £9,000 in grant funding. This is helping them to access health services, go shopping from the comfort of home, learn new hobbies and connect with others across the globe.
Inspired by how technology can improve the lives of older people, the Estate Manager assessed what support programmes were available that could help residents to easily gain online skills.
As a result, the silver surfers from Hanover Court received nearly £7,000 from the Big Lottery Fund, alongside an additional £2,000 from the national housing provider’s Greenshoots programme. The funding has helped secure laptops, laser printers, a Google Home Hub, Smart TVs, a high speed broadband connection and computer desks.
Residents have also benefited from Age UK’s expert teaching for the last three months. Now Linda, along with a couple of the more tech savvy residents, will be undertaking training with One Digital to become Digital Champions. This will help even more people to get online.
Among those taking part in the lessons, one 96-year-old resident uses the lessons to help him sharpen his memory. Thanks to the classes, he has found a new interest in arts and crafts, and is now busy designing Christmas cards to send his friends and neighbours.
The computer lessons and equipment are fantastic. I must have saved a small fortune since I started shopping online!
Another resident to benefit from the classes, a former South African Air Force veteran, managed to take advantage of the many Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals he found online to buy early Christmas presents.
He said: ‘During my days in the air force I travelled to many wonderful places. The computer classes have also given me the opportunity to keep in touch with some of my air force buddies based abroad.’
It’s fantastic to see the difference that the equipment is making to their lives.
The Estate Manager said: ‘The residents seem to have taken to the lessons like ducks to water. One has even bought herself a tablet, and is planning to join her family in Australia for Christmas dinner via Skype.’
According to recent figures from the Office for National Statistics, of the 4.5 million adults in the UK who had never used the internet in 2018, more than half were aged 75 years and over. As isolation and loneliness impacts many older people, especially during the festive period, being able to access social networks and online communities is a great way for them to stay connected to friends and family, along with maintaining their independence.