A MULTIMILLION pound programme to turn South Yorkshire into the worlds ‘digital playground’ is helping a group of elderly people in Rotherham get to grips with computers and the internet.
Digital Region has laid on superfast broadband to Bakersfield Court in Rotherham, an extra care housing scheme for 65 elderly people which is run and supported by Rotherham Council and owned by Chevin Housing Association.
Many of the residents are complete novices when it comes to using computers or the internet, so the £90 million Digital Region programme has teamed up with Voluntary Action Rotherham and JMLB Genesis, which provides ICT training for older learners.
At the end of the 10 week course, residents will have been turned into internet-savvy individuals who can use the web to improve their standard of life by doing things like using Skype to speak to loved ones, shopping and playing games online.
Seventy eight year old Bakersfield Court resident Derek Robinson said: “Before I started these sessions I didn’t even know how to switch a computer on. I wasn’t interested in computers or the internet because I didn’t know how they work or how they could improve my life.”
Derek was recently voted chairman of the committee at Bakersfield and plans to use his new computer skills to create agendas for committee meetings and send out bulletins to other residents, in addition to keeping in touch by e-mail with his son, who lives in Wales and his grand-children and great grand-children.
“These sessions have really helped me not be afraid of using a computer or the Internet and have been very useful as I would never have found out about computers without them. Hopefully after a few more sessions I will be a real tech expert,” added Derek.