MP Steve Barclay was on hand to see how residents at a sheltered housing scheme have really clicked with an I.T course aimed at older people.

Residents of Bradshaw Court, March, who are in their 70s, 80s and 90s, also received certificates from the MP for completing the bite sized computer course, "Learn My Way".

The scheme aims to help vulnerable older people get online. It teaches them new skills and also reduces their social isolation by encouraging them to learn together and by being able to communicate digitally with friends and family.  They've learnt how to browse the Internet, send email, use I-pads, play games like air hockey and shop online. The learners have formed their own digital club and two residents of Bradshaw Court have now volunteered as digital champions who will provide regular tuition.

The scheme is result of key organisations joining forces to make it happen. These include Cambridgeshire County Council's Adult Learning team with funding via the SeNs project, Centra Care and Support and Circle Housing Roddons who run Bradshaw Court, mobile company Three who provided the initial free wireless internet access and UK Online and the Tinder Foundation for providing  the "˜Learn My Way' course.

To find out about how you can enrol on the Learn My Way Course in your area, contact Nyree Scott on 07881837543
Joan Smith, aged 88 and a resident at Bradshaw Court, said: "Learning to shop online has been amazing as my husband doesn't drive anymore and it's much harder to get out and about.  There was no pressure when it came to the course and it was really enjoyable to learn about computers."

Steve Barclay, MP for North East Cambridgeshire, said: "It was really inspiring to see how older residents at Bradshaw Court have developed their computer skills. Many of them had never used a computer before, let alone a tablet, yet they are now using the internet for online shopping, keeping in touch with family and friends and more. Many of us take this sort of thing for granted, but there are around 11 million people in the UK who are thought not to have sufficient IT skills. It is schemes like these which show that, with the right training, anyone can reap the advantages of using the internet, which is particularly important in rural areas such as ours.  The success of the scheme is a testament to the hard work of the learners and organisations involved and will allow residents to take full advantage of the superfast broadband being rolled out across Cambridgeshire."

Cambridgeshire County Councillor David Harty, Cabinet Member for Education and Learning, added: "Community Learning is a key priority for Cambridgeshire County Council because it provides people with new skills and has other benefits such as reducing social isolation. This partnership scheme really shows this with people learning to email, use social media to contact relatives and shop online."


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