From October, local elderly people will have a great opportunity to get support to help them use computers. Around 120 people are expected to benefit from the ‘Connect Online’ programme that is being run by Volunteer Centre Midlothian, and funding of £4,000 has just been secured from Corra Foundation.
“Many older people have never used a computer or the internet, and it can be really daunting,” said Natalie Christison, Volunteering Development Officer. “Yet IT can really help people stay socially connected with friends and family through technology such as e-mail and skype, and also let people stay independent for longer, for example by doing their shopping on-line. So it really is a great enabler and by providing tuition either one to one or in small groups we’re able to quickly help people overcome any apprehensions they may have and become comfortable using the sort of technology many of us take for granted.”
For older people who are housebound, one to one tuition will be provided in their own homes, and roughly 50 people are expected to benefit from this approach which also has the benefit of increasing their social interaction by spending time with the tutor. Another 70 people will get tuition in small groups, which will be created based on need. These will take place in community settings like sheltered housing or village halls, and again will help them have more interaction with other people. This is all being made possible by volunteer tutors, and Natalie is keen to hear from anyone who is interested in getting involved.
Mary Craig OBE, Chief Executive of Corra Foundation, said: “This is a great example of supporting older people in a way that helps increase their opportunities. Rather than have someone come and do something for them, this is all about teaching them to do things themselves, and that is very empowering. The role of the volunteer tutors is obviously vital, and shows just how much people in Midlothian are willing to do to make life better for others in their own community. We’re delighted to be able to help fund this work by helping pay for the salary of the project co-ordinator.”
This is the fourth award the Foundation has given to Volunteer Centre Midlothian, bringing the total support to £28,506 since 2001.
Anyone interested in getting involved as a volunteer tutor should contact Natalie Christison on 0131 660 1216 or firstname.lastname@example.org