Sharing tools with web-wary generation
Tweeting, Googling and profile posting have become an everyday part of modern life for the internet generation.
But for older people who are yet to become silver surfers, cyber-speak may as well be Greek.
And in Sketty Park work has got under way to break down the technological language barrier and introduce the area’s ageing population to the wonders of information superhighway.
More than 80 people over the age of 50 took part in a taster session at the Sketty Park Community Centre in a bid to get to grips with gadgets from iPads to laptops.
The project, known as Sketty Park Online, is part of the Welsh Government’s Communities 2.0 which is designed to help communities and small enterprises to make the most of the internet.
The event, which also featured a class in taking digital photographs, involved Sketty Park Communities First and Sketty Park Church.
Communities 2.0 spokesman Dan Jolley said: “The iPads were really popular. They don’t have keyboards or mice to contend with.
“Things like YouTube were used to show people how to post videos online. That went down really well.”
Swansea-based affordable housing group Coastal were also on hand to take the visitors through their paces in everything from digital photography to Twitter and Facebook.
Coastal spokesman Kevin Hedges said: “We had more than 80 people attend the event. It involved a variety of different technology that people could try out.
“People were interested in learning more and that is the point, to get people aware of different technology.”
Pensioner Val Pearce was one of the many older people who was given the chance to try her hand at the new technology at her fingertips.
The 67-year-old has lived in Sketty for 34 years and said she has used a laptop but only for very basic tasks.
She said: “I had a go at everything. They had computers and tablets there. I had never used the tablets before. They showed us Skype and they also showed us how to use Photoshop.
“I know quite a few of my neighbours who have family that live abroad and would like to use Skype.
“It was run as part of the Old Person’s Forum for IT. It was a very good chance to learn more.
“It was a lovely afternoon and a tutor has been employed who will now hold classes in the area that is going to cover quite a few different things such as family history, Skype, Twitter and Facebook.
“The iPads were fantastic. I played with them all day.”
Communities 2.0 senior marketing and public engagement officer Mark Smith said: “Sketty Park Online is aiming to work with older people, social housing tenants and unemployed people to help them build up digital skills that could help some become more employable and others to become more socially active and involved in their communities.
“It is more difficult for people in these social groups to access and make use of the internet.”