Webinar: launching our research on digital support for older adults during the pandemic

Eirlys with her tablet

Join us on Thursday July 8th for a one-hour webinar launching research we’ve conducted with the Centre for Ageing Better into the impact of the pandemic on internet use by people aged 50-70 and the digital support organisations have provided.

Digital Skills to Connect

Research launch webinar, Thursday July 8th, 10.30am

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, people without access to the internet were already at a severe disadvantage in terms of accessing essential goods, services, job opportunities and financial support. The pandemic has dramatically exacerbated this situation. People — many for the first time — have increasingly had to rely on the internet and digital devices to get things done, and to participate fully in society.

At this launch of the “Digital Skills to Connect” report, we’ll be outlining our findings and recommendations and discussing the following questions in conversation with the Centre for Ageing Better, Age UK, and Ageless Thanet.

  • Are there older adults who have missed out during this period? 
  • What types of organisation have supported people with digital skills training needs, and how have they adapted their delivery? 
  • What examples of good practice can be shared more widely? 
  • Chair: John Kiernan, Innovation and Change Officer, Centre for Ageing Better
  • James Beecher, Research Manager, Citizens Online
  • Sarah Parkes, project manager Age UK’s well-being team, and
  • Rebecca Smith, Deputy CEO of Social Enterprise Kent, which runs the Ageless Thanet project

Digital Skills to Connect

Research launch webinar, Thursday July 8th, 10.30am

A large mural, painted in grey, of two hands reaching up and down to hold each other. Photo by laura adai on Unsplash.

A case study from the research – Michael’s story

Michael is retired and lives with his four dogs. When the pandemic began, he wanted to do more for himself online but couldn’t afford a device.

As he was clinically vulnerable and shielding, he received a letter from Brighton & Hove City Council, listing available support. Michael called the Digital Brighton & Hove Support Line.  Michael borrowed a tablet from the Digital Brighton & Hove loan scheme before being allocated a permanent laptop through TechTakeBack. He also received support from a Digital Champion.

Being online has helped Michael to pursue his interests. He’s been looking up wildlife, natural history, photographs from a space station, playing a snooker game, and finding details for his model-making hobby. Michael told us that being online has had a positive impact on his life in terms of confidence and social connection. Even though unable to go outside, he has found a freedom in being online:

If anyone needs to get out and do things, do it on a computer. It’s a fantastic freedom… it’s helped with life, you know, it keeps your life going instead of just sitting stagnating while this virus ruins the world, you can go out and see the world as it was or as it could be.

Read more about Michael’s story.