Northumberland County Council is supporting a Northumberland Community Development Network project which will improve IT skills and open access to online services for older people.
Northumberland Community Development Network (NCDN) is offering help to dispel the fears and myths that surround the digital world. Support is available for older people’s groups and individuals to make the most of the internet and digital technology which will help them to remain independent in their own homes.
People are able to get advice on making sure their information is well protected, enabling them to shop and pay bills on line, communicate by using Skype, email, twitter and Facebook; get a health check for their laptop or mobile and even get assistance with the digital TV switchover.
The council is urging people to become volunteers and join the NCDN as digital champions to provide IT support. Volunteer digital champions will receive training in the role delivering online learning sessions, as well as general skills in working with people one to one and in small groups
The role is varied and can be very rewarding as you may be assisting people with searching their family tree,
Councillor Ian Lindley, executive member for health and wellbeing said “Technology is moving at such a fast pace that is sometimes hard to keep up with. Getting people online not only offers practical benefits such as shopping and paying bills but wellbeing research suggests that learning a new skill can offer other benefits such as improved attention and communication skills. Keeping in touch with friends and family is known to improve the quality of a person’s life and which then helps people avoid needing social care too early in life. This in turn means we can make best use of our care resources for the people of Northumberland"
NCDN will provide the equipment; venue and support a volunteer will need to offer people the help they need. They are running regular support sessions for anyone who signs up as a volunteer where ideas can be shared with other volunteer champion.
Julia Lyford, director of NCDN, said “This project sets out to break down some of the hurdles to older people’s access to the internet, and raise people’s confidence in getting online. Older people who are willing to volunteer their IT skills will help promote positive role models to others, and there will also be a focus on encouraging use of the internet to help older people develop their social networks and get better access to services.”
An information event has been arranged for potential digital champions to come and see what the role will involve on Thursday, 24 May at Bell View Resource Centre, 3 West Street, Belford, NE70 7QB
NCDN has coordinated a volunteer support programme through Northumberland libraries which host health and social care and health information points and they will look to build upon these links.
For more information, please contact Julia Lyford at Julia@ncdn.org or telephone 01668 219 879