IT’s a piece of cake for Peter Dyer Court residents in Mablethorpe

IT’s a piece of cake for senior citizens at Peter Dyer Court, a Stonewater retirement-living scheme for the over 50s in Mablethorpe which has just launched High Tea and IT – a monthly series of informal high-tech ‘socials’ to help older people in the community get to grips with the digital world and go online.

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It’s important for older people in our community to embrace IT (information technology) because there’s so much they can do online, and it stops them from feeling and becoming socially isolated,” says Janet Allinson, Stonewater Service Delivery Officer. “Many don’t have the confidence to have a go, for all sorts of reasons: they’re afraid of breaking something or that it’s far too difficult and complicated. But it’s not. IT’s a piece of cake – which is the message we want to promote.”

The informal Friday morning sessions, which are open to over-50s in the community, are being held over a cuppa and a piece of cake in the residents’ lounge at Peter Dyer Court from 10-12 noon. The initiative is being funded by social housing provider Stonewater which operates the retirement living scheme in Seacroft Road. Talk, Eat and Drink (TED), an East Lindsey District Council project to reduce isolation among older people in the community, is providing volunteers for the initiative.

“For the first few sessions we’re just talking about IT as something that is a simple and straightforward part of everyday life that people don’t have to fear, feel anxious about, and that’s well within their capabilities to use,” explains Janet. “We’ve been chatting about the internet – what it is and what going online actually means. We’ve also made lists of jargon-busting words and created posters and coasters with photos of digital imagery such as screen apps – to bring the digital world into a typical social activity that’s part of people’s typical day, in a low-key way.”

The High Tea and IT initiative comes at a time when digital transactions are becoming a part of everyday life, yet around 73 per cent of women and 59 per cent of men aged over 75 have never been online. Recent government figures also show that more than 13 per cent (6.4 million) of UK adults have never used the internet with the over 65s accounting for 75 per cent of this excluded group.

“We have older volunteers who use the internet taking part in the sessions and sharing their experiences with the group about the benefits of going online – from keeping in touch with their families and friends to booking a doctor’s appointment,” says Janet. “We really hope this initiative will build people’s confidence and encourage more seniors in our community to get ‘connected’. In opening up a world of opportunity, going online can make a huge difference to their lives so they don’t feel isolated or alone in the community.”

The next session which is free, will be on Friday, 27 April from 10am-12 noon. For further information about High Tea and IT at Peter Dyer Court, contact Janet Allinson on 01507 478157, janet.allinson@stonewater.org.