Helping Reading’s silver surfers get online

News from Reading Voluntary Action (RVA) by Tricia (RVA Community Journalist)


Silver surfers enjoyed a taster day onsite at the Trinity Place sheltered housing unit recently. Trinity Place is just one of 11 units for the over 60s in central Reading and now has a computer room to get more of the residents online, giving them the chance to shop from the comfort of home as well as book tickets for trips and events.

Ian Williams is a volunteer for the Get Online Reading Project and is on hand to help the older generation get to grips with the world wide web. The project wants to see more of the community enjoy the benefits of using a computer and has its base at Reading’s Central Library.

The unit’s Activities Coordinator Linda Giffin has worked hard to get the computer room up and running. Reading Borough Council’s recent move to new offices meant there were some older computers going spare and Linda jumped at the chance to take them off the council’s hands. “I initially wanted a computer for arts and crafts. We had a camera that residents made use of on our day trips. When I showed them how to download the photos on a computer it caught their interest.”

The unit recently received a donation from Berkshire Community Grants to fund one of the computers which has been a great help. “Having the computer room is not so daunting for the residents as it’s a familiar place,” says Linda. “I want to get a six week course up and running for them. I’d love to hear from more volunteers, I don’t need a whizz kid, just someone who knows their way around a computer.”

Someone who knows his way around a computer is 88-years-young Murray Allam, a resident who finds the computer invaluable in helping him run residents’ activities.

Another resident who enjoys her computer time is Maggie Barnes. Her speciality is researching family trees. “I started doing my own family and went back as far as the 1700s. Other residents found it interesting so they asked me to do theirs. It’s really interesting and I find out a few scandals too!”

From Tuesday 6 October 2015 there are now regular silver surfer sessions running at Trinity Place, supported by volunteers from the Get Online Reading project.

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