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Digital masterclass for tech savvy retirees

More than 50 residents of retirement living schemes, operated by The Wrekin Housing Group, have been given a masterclass on all things digital, thanks to volunteers from Capgemini.

Fiona Loftus and Sheree Busby wifi project

Pictured: Fiona Loftus and Sherree Busby

The aim of the sessions was to engage with residents and break down any fears they may have about using technology and the internet, as well as offering advice about using devices, such as tablets and smartphones.

The sessions took place at Walton Court, Oakengates, Turnpike Court, St George’s, and Lowe Court, in Wellington, on Thursday 14th November. As part of a pilot program, these sites, along with two other locations, Ridgeway in High Ercall and Lindale Court, Shrewsbury, have recently seen Wi-Fi installed by Shrewsbury-based Social Telecoms CIC into their communal lounges.

The charity, Volunteering Matters, arranged for Capgemini to send 16 members of staff across the three sites and spend time with the residents.

Kathryn Spittle, co-ordinator at Walton Court Retirement Living Scheme, said: “Our residents have become pretty tech savvy. We have a group called ‘Wifi Angels and Digital Eagles’. They’re really enthusiastic about the technology and they recently clubbed together to purchase a 70” 4K Smart TV, which they now use to stream movies off Netflix, as well as watch sports. We also have a 24” android tablet in the communal area that residents use for a wide variety of things, such as accessing online services, or just general browsing.

“The session with the volunteers was a great success and the residents got a huge amount from it.”

One tech savvy resident is Sherree Busby, who said: “One of the things the volunteers helped me with was to show me how to use spreadsheets on the computer using my Google account. We do certain things, like trips, where we need to make lists and instead of writing details on paper, which can get lost, we can now just save it online. The volunteers also helped me to sync up some apps on my phone.

“The installation of the Wi-Fi here has really created a greater sense of community, because instead of doing things in our room, we can all get together in the lounge and enjoy movies and concerts while we have meals.”

Fiona Loftus from Capgemini, added: “We were all really impressed by how the residents have embraced technology. They asked lots of questions about being online and how to use various software and apps and we were just really glad we could help them. Age is certainly not a barrier when it comes to using technology as these residents proved. Once they have been shown how to do something online, they quickly became comfortable and confident enough to do it themselves.

Volunteering week was run as part of Capgemini’s commitment to Digital Inclusion, ensuring we use our expertise to help disadvantaged communities develop digital skills needed to be included in society. Our strategy focuses on driving the digital skills development across society, creating pathways to employment for underrepresented groups, and leveraging our skills to develop innovative solutions for social issues."

25th November 2019