Longleigh Foundation funds housing association’s national digital project to help older residents go online

National grant-giving charity Longleigh Foundation, has awarded a £14,350 grant to fund social housing provider Stonewater’s country-wide programme of digital taster days aimed at helping its retirement living residents go online and maximise the benefits of the internet.

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The programme, launched this month at Stonewater’s Chaddesley Court retirement living scheme in Dudley, is being rolled-out across the country over the next two years providing over 2,000 Stonewater retirement living residents with basic skills training. The digital sessions are focused on showing residents how to access the internet through laptops, tablets, smart phones and other electronic devices, and use services from online banking, shopping and healthcare resources, to connecting with friends and family through email, Skype and Facebook. The sessions also include playing online games such as chess and sudoku, which provide mental stimulation, and training on setting up email, texting and downloading apps.

“Digital skills are critical for life in the 21st century and with government services increasingly being ‘Digital by Default’ it is now vital that older people and their carers have basic skills so they can access these critical services,” says Sue Terry, Longleigh Foundation Chair. “Longleigh sees a huge benefit in funding community projects like this Stonewater scheme which opens up an exciting new world of opportunity and ‘connectivity’ which will be truly life-changing for them.”

Recent government figures 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’re very grateful to Longleigh Foundation for funding these vital workshops which will reduce the level of digital exclusion among our older residents, many of whom have never used a computer and are quite fearful of going online,” explains Sue Shirt, Stonewater’s Executive Director for Housing. “This project provides an opportunity in a relaxed environment, to get comfortable with using digital devices. Not only is it increasing digital inclusion among our residents, but enables them to save money through online access to cheaper services, health advice and learning opportunities from the comfort of their home.”

Longleigh Foundation funds projects which help the elderly, young people, women in crisis due to domestic abuse, and residents with physical or mental disabilities. This year, Longleigh’s grant-giving programme has been focused on supporting community projects aimed at health and well-being, isolation and inclusion, employment and training, individual hardship cases, and funding for strategic research.

Longleigh Foundation welcomes funding support from corporate partners for community projects which help improve the lives of society’s most vulnerable groups. For more information about the work of Longleigh Foundation, business partnership opportunities and details of the project eligibility criteria and the application process, visit www.longleighfoundation.org.