How Sports For Seniors Has Adapted Through Distance And Uncertainty

Published by Sydney O'Connor on

On the 16th March 2020, the UK went into the first national lockdown. At that time most of our football team, the Bramley Walking Wanderers, had never picked up a tablet before, never mind used one! Yet 9 months later, here’s a pictures of some of them taking their first steps into the world of Zoom:

With the help of Awards for All funding, Bramley Elderly Action, 100% Digital and our fantastic volunteers from the University of Leeds, we’ve been able to get most of the team set up with tablets, and learning how to use them, all whilst working remotely. 

The why:

We were so keen to get our team online because of the strict guidelines that older people were faced with this year. Admittedly it’s been a rough year for everyone, but with shielding measures, often compounded with a lack of digital socialisation, older people have got the rough end of the stick this year. 

Our response was keeping older people active and chatting throughout this uncertainty with free exercise on YouTube and Zoom with a coffee break afterwards to catch up. 

The how:

Doing this remotely hasn’t been easy, but with the advice of 100% Digital Leeds and the support we got from volunteers, we’ve made it happen! Whether you’re wanting to facetime your grandma in the new year, or run a similar project, here’s some top tips from the volunteers to help older people use new tech over the phone: 

“I think the main thing with (my participant) was confidence and the fact that at first I couldn’t see the screen, so she was stressed that something would go wrong if she clicked on the wrong button! I just told her that the home button is her safety button and to press it whenever she panics and it’ll take her back to the start! At the beginning we used that loads – sounds a bit simple but really worked. Also, the TeamViewer app has made it SO much quicker and easier!”- Jo Thompson  

“Try to avoid using words that you’d only know if you’re used to a tablet. It’s hard to do this because we’re so used to the words that we don’t even realise they’re ‘jargon’ in a way. Even things like ‘inbox’ and ‘link’ can add extra confusion if the participant doesn’t know what they are. It’s better to be conscious of the words you’re using, and describe things as they appear or what their function is.”- Maisie Swannell 


The aforementioned online exercise classes are available for free for any older adult who would like to come along. We’ve got everything from tai chi to dance available, so there should be something for everyone! 

To get on demand classes, subscribe to us on Youtube here:

To view our Zoom schedule, click here:



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