Go for IT, was developed to promote the importance and value of digital technology to assist with various aspects of modern day life amongst adults aged 50+ in our rural communities. Dean Richards, Project Manager, explained that classes are being held to support users who wish to access information on subjects such as internet banking, purchasing goods online, and accessing price comparison websites to look at alternative fuel tariffs in order to promote a healthy and active retirement and continuing independence for the over 50s in our rural wards and lessons are going well.
Dean stated "We are delighted to have received funding to deliver the ‘Go For IT’ Project across nine rural wards in Neath Port Talbot. The project is delivering non-syllabus, user-led services in an accessible, fun and practical environment. The group workshops and individually tailored sessions are being delivered by our dedicated staff and volunteer team and are ensuring that service users make full use of ICT to further enhance their lives. We have already seen the project begin to tackle social isolation and boost the confidence of those with little or no IT knowledge, and know that this is just the start of the positive impact that the project will have. Those who wish to get involved in the project can look forward to gaining support in areas such as digital equipment, internet searching, social media, online shopping, mobile phone technology, local service directories, internet banking, digital health tools and much more. We are confident that as the projects continues to develop, we will make a lasting impact in local communities and ensure that service users have a greater ability to face the many challenges associated with ageing”.
Age proves no barrier to learning
On a recent visit toTy Maes Marchog Residential Home in Duffryn Cellwen, where the Age Connects Neath Port Talbot: Go for IT class is held on a Thursday morning, Suzette Phillips and Bethan Blackmore of the RDP team met many of the class attendees, along with Joanne Baitup the class tutor. Joanne explained a little bit about the class: Designed for anyone 50+ with an interest in IT - Clients have the opportunity to chat and learn in an informal and familiar setting whilst having a cup of tea. They bring along their own devices to find out how to use them. The relaxed atmosphere of the class makes learning fun and the topics covered are relevant to the group’s needs and interests.
One of the attendees is 86 year old Muriel Davies who commented that “when you are older, being able to understand how to use the internet opens up your life. I am in regular contact with my granddaughter who lives in France – we are in contact almost daily which means I don’t miss out on the life of my beautiful great great grandchildren. I knew a little about Facebook and email prior to coming on this course but Joanne is marvellous at explaining everything – I really look forward to coming”. Another regular to the Go for IT class is Tom Marston who explained that the class is a coming together of communities and is a good place to meet new people. Another attendee at the class is Eira Roberts who is not on the internet at home but has learned to use it for shopping and downloading crochet patterns amongst other things and she’s also learned a lot about internet security and how to stay safe whilst surfing. Another gentleman, Wyn Hodge, doesn’t book holidays on line but researches destinations before travelling so he knows as much as possible about the places he visits before he goes. During the visit, Doris Hales was using the internet to complain to the council that their garden waste hadn’t been collected!
Suzette said “when Bethan and I visited we were heartened to see the positive attitude of those attending the class. They were not a bit afraid of having a go and were very enthusiastic about the benefits of using IT as well as the rewards of making friends through attendance at the class. They were all very comfortable with Joanne and were very complimentary about her patience and teaching skills. The atmosphere there was wonderful.”
Muriel showing Suzette some family photographs
Discussing issues at the class
Jo and Tom chat about using a mobile phone to access data
Deep in thought