TWO High School pupils have handed out their own education lessons to give a group of older people a crash course in tweeting, Skyping and shopping online.
Residents at Bield’s Mosside Court in Blackburn – a very sheltered housing development in Blackburn – are being taught essential computing and internet skills as part of fIT 2gether, an intergenerational project funded by Bield to encourage tenants to improve their IT skills using tablet computers.
Bield hope to roll out the fIT2gether project across other developments and local authority areas in the near future.
Two sixth-year pupils at the town’s St Kentigern’s Academy, Laura Hinde and Brogan Manson, have been volunteering since November, spending one day a week with three of the tenants teaching them how to engage with an increasing IT focused world, including how to e-mail, Skype and shop online.
John Hamilton, one of the resident’s who has been doing the project, said: “When the chance came around to work with the girls as part of the fIT 2gether project I was delighted. I always knew I was missing out not using the internet, but I just didn’t know where to start.
“The girls were great and explained very clearly how everything worked in a way which made it all seem much less daunting.
“I enjoyed the experience so much that I had to buy my own iPad so I can now Skype my grandchildren whenever I want.”
The pupils who are taking part are also set to benefit from the project as they are gaining essential communication and learning skills as well as achieving invaluable life and work experience.
Brogan Manson said: “Seeing the residents confidences grow each week has been great to see.
“Our generation often takes for granted our knowledge of the internet so it’s great to have this opportunity to teach older people the benefits it can have.
“It’s also fantastic to see some of the residents Skyping families and being able to keep in regular contact with people they wouldn’t normally see for weeks or sometimes months.”
Emma Kennedy, project manager of the fIT 2gether programme, added: “Coming to grips with the technology has really opened doors for some of our less mobile residents. They are now able to shop online which can be a real life line with the cold weather preventing some residents going out as often as they would like.
“The pupils have also helped our residents retain their independence. Many of the residents also have families that live quite far away and visits can be irregular. We now have grandparents Skyping their grandchildren on a daily basis which is just fantastic to see.
“Hopefully, we will see this project rolled out across all our Bield services and help keep residents in touch with their families as much as possible.”
The initiative is ties in with Bield’s Free To Be commitment which strives to let people make their own choices about how they live their lives but being there to support them when they need it.
Bield – a registered charity- provides housing and care services for older people in Scotland, starting out with one housing development in Bo’ness. Established for over 40 years, Bield provide a range of care services and housing for over 20,000 people across twenty two local areas.
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Contact: Linsay Robertson