Get Online Week With Your Back Yard
‘Get Online Week’ is a digital inclusion campaign taking place from 18th – 24th October organised by Good Things Foundation.
The UN reported almost half of the world’s global population is currently offline (UN, 2021). Imagining day-to-day life without any online access is quite hard to comprehend but being without internet access throughout the COVID-19 pandemic is even harder to imagine.
In the UK almost 50% of over 75-year-olds coming out of lockdown did not have any internet access or the knowledge to use a digital device (BBC, 2021). Therefore, the luxurious lifelines of social media, zoom calls and online streaming services you and I may have had in lockdown were inaccessible to those digitally excluded.
If not before the pandemic – the last two years have evidenced the significance of equitable access to digital devices affecting societal wellness and safety.
Here at Your Back Yard, we recognised the importance of digital inclusion which kick started our ‘Digital Inclusion Project’ in June 2021. In partnership with Bramley Elderly Action, the project aimed to educate and digitally train older adults to reduce the digital divide.
Older adults were given a digital device on loan for three months alongside one-to-one digital support from our amazing YBY volunteers. As lockdown restrictions eased the digital support shifted from over the phone to in person digital cafes every other week at Bramley Lawn club and most recently, Bramley Community Centre.
Examples of the support given to older adults range from the basics of logging into a digital device to specialised app support. The most popular support given to older adults involves booking online doctor appointments.
Whilst for many of us privileged enough to seek the benefits of booking online and over the phone appointments, many of the older adults are not able to reap the benefits due to the intersections of class and age discrimination when trying to get online.
Despite the prevalent social challenges of getting older adults online, we can strive to make a difference one digital cafe at a time. Increasing online accessibility has enabled older adults to connect with their loved ones, as well as increasing their participation in our online exercise classes and social clubs!
If you think you would benefit from our digital café or know anyone who would – we would love you to join us at Bramley Community centre every other week from 1 – 2:30PM.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
If you want to find out about more about ‘Getting Online Week’ in Leeds, check out 100% Digital Leeds twitter thread.