Digital inclusion in action in Wales
Part 2 of the Communities 2.0 Summer of Success. Every day, we are celebrating the ways C2.0 overcomes the barriers of digital exclusion and makes a difference to individuals, organisations and communities. Today, we focus on one way we are changing the lives of older people in Torfaen.
Communities 2.0 works with people living in retirement housing schemes in Torfaen. We improve the quality of people’s lives by helping them become comfortable using digital devices. The Tech New Age project involves encouraging residents in 21 Bron Afon Housing Association retirement schemes to have fun whilst benefiting from new technology. We have developed social and digital community hubs with the older people and residents from surrounding communities. The idea is that people get together for a “hands on” experience of using technology. The emphasis is on enjoyment, and we introduce them to devices such as Wii games consoles and digital cameras. As they grow in confidence, people learn to use the internet to Skype friends and family, to stay in touch using social media, and to save money shopping.
Tech New Age is an intergenerational project which is delivered through a team of 50 young volunteers drawn from Abersychan School, Bron Afon Youth Forum and the Neon Youth Club, who are supported by the Communities 2.0 Digital Inclusion Officer. It’s amazing to see the young volunteers and older residents learn from each other, developing skills and sharing life experiences. Both generations are seeing that digital communication is not frightening, soulless nor remote, but it is an utterly relevant way by which their thoughts, opinions and memories can be shared and valued. Where before there were some barriers between the young and the old, now we see a common understanding and a tremendous amount of mutual respect.
Let the participants speak for themselves:
“It’s amazing, we get excited every time!”
“I think the volunteers of the project bring energy and vitality and I think we can teach them something too.”
“Because of the Tech-New Age project, I have purchased a netbook and have had broadband installed.”
“It’s had a knock-on effect on the entire family, we Skype once a week now.”