“Being online has enlightened my world”

Residents at a retirement village in Nottingham have been given the skills and confidence to get online thanks to two local Digital Champions.

Penny and Grace are in their 70s and residents at Lark Hill Retirement Village, and until recently had very little experience of computers and the internet. In October they signed up for weekly computer sessions with two volunteer Digital Champions, Hugh Evans and Senga Bovington, who, in total, helped up to 14 residents with being online. On Wednesday 14 December all of the learners came together to celebrate the digital skills they’ve gained over the past two months.

Penny (pictured) said: “My family have immigrated to Australia and were keen for me to be in touch with them by email. Whilst my grandson set up an email account for me I had very little knowledge of how to actually use a computer and the internet. With help from Hugh and Senga I’ve now been regularly emailing my family and am also looking up new products via different websites. My confidence has increased so much that I was able to haggle down the price of a new item of furniture by several hundred pounds because I had seen the lower price on the internet. Before I met the Digital Champions I would never have thought about looking into new things that way. Being online has really enlightened my world!”

Grace said: “I knew a little bit about computers but there is just so much to learn. In the past I’ve found that usually when someone shows you something on the computer, they know what they’re doing so don’t show you everything which can be very confusing. Hugh and Senga have been so good and patient and have been helping us at a pace we can manage. Now I know how to email and do an internet search and it has been lots of fun meeting up with the other learners in between classes to share what we’ve learnt and try to get better. I would recommend to everyone in a similar position to me to just have a go!”

Hugh and Senga are part of the Nottinghamshire Digital Champions Network (NDCN), an initiative launched by Nottinghamshire County Council in 2015 as part of the Better Broadband for Nottinghamshire Programme and delivered by Digital Unite. The aim of the NDCN is to create and support a team of Digital Champions who can help residents and businesses get the most out of life online. So far, over 80 volunteers have got involved to help, including Hugh and Senga. For more information visit www.digitalchampionsnetwork.com/nottinghamshire