Newground Digital Inclusion Project
The ‘Digital Inclusion Project’ was coordinated by Newground staff Ian Whittaker and Carol Casey, who worked with Jackie Flynn from SPICE, a local organisation that aims to reduce social isolation in older people.
The team secured funding from the “Living Well Living Better” project, which is run by Rossendale Council to develop a project that looked at tackling these 3 issues:
- Social isolation
- Lack of digital knowledge
- Intergenerational barriers
“The aim of the project was to use digital technology to bring together older and younger people in the Rossendale area”, says Ian Whittaker, Senior Officer at Newground. “By doing this, it has also helped reduce social isolation, whilst improving the younger volunteers’ employability and personal development.”
Ian, Carol and Jackie joined forces with young people from the local area to develop a two session plan aimed to educate the older generation on how to become digitally aware. The plan was to deliver workshop-based learning to groups of elderly people at both Masseycroft and Green Brook house in Whitworth, to help them develop their skills using mobile phones, laptops and tablets. The younger people were involved from the very beginning, looking at what needed to be taught and in what order, for the older generation to learn steadily and at their pace.
“The main aim of this project was to improve emotional wellbeing, quality of life and help older people gain digital independence. The outcomes have been extraordinary, developing the confidence of both generations, whilst at the same time exchanging life experiences and knowledge. It’s been fantastic to see both groups of our community working together and helping each other,” comments Jackie from SPICE.
“I think it is a brilliant project and we pensioners have had a great opportunity not only to learn new skills, which are so important in modern life, but also to meet the younger generation. My young teacher was very competent and willing to help me. Everyone involved in the project has been helpful, friendly, and inviting,” said one of the pensioners involved in the project.
After the successful completion of the project a celebration evening took place where the staff and young people involved were joined by the Mayor and Mayoress of Whitworth, Alan and Janet Neal. Each young person involved received a certificate, to commend their dedication and hard work: “I loved it. I felt like I was a teacher. I will definitely take part again to help someone older in the community,” adds a young volunteer.