Computer skills for older people: get to grips with IT

Computer skills for older people: get to grips with IT

Age UK Norwich has joined forces with John Lewis and OPEN Norwich to help make computers fun and easy for older people. Age Space finds out more from project manger Natasha Farr.

Have you given your elderly mum or dad a new tablet recently, as a way of keeping in contact, only to find they haven’t exactly got to grips with it?  New technology offers people greater opportunities to stay connected with friends even if they find it hard to get out and about.

But it’s not always as easy as that, as digital exclusion is widespread in Norfolk (and can be clearly mapped to high areas of social exclusion), plus there’s a lack of Information Technology knowledge and skill specifically amongst vulnerable groups such as older people who have not used IT in their working lives.

Age UK Norwich on a mission


However, this spring, Age UK Norwich is on a mission to make computers fun and easy, working with both John Lewis and OPEN Youth Trust to offer free masterclasses and IT tips for people who want to explore a variety of topics.  Natasha Farr of Age UK Norwich says: ‘We have worked with OPEN and John Lewis in the past to offer sessions that are facilitated by Age UK Norwich, but led by young volunteers at OPEN and the Computing and Audio Department staff at John Lewis who offer short informal training sessions aimed at enabling older people to use IT for largely four main areas.’

Practical help with Computer skills

  • Social/family interaction (email, skype, social media)practicalhelpwithcomputerskills
  • Research and hobbies
  • Shopping and service access (web search)
  • Managing digital images and word processing

Free masterclasses

Age UK Norwich and John Lewis are offering free masterclasses to offer IT tips for people who want to explore how to:

  • Make their computer safe and secure
  • Troubleshoot problems, advice and guidance
  • Compare computers, tablets and notebooks
  • Set up and tune in their TV/DVD or radio

Whereas Age UK Norwich and OPEN are offering free masterclasses for people who want to explore how to:

  • Edit photos before sending them to print
  • Edit videos to make memories more memorable

whats next

The courses are personalised and delivered one to one according to the needs of the individual, and some clients bring their own laptops/tablets – whereas others use the PCs supplied. These latest sessions are part of Age UK’s Technology Together Project. Natasha adds: ‘Our IT service, Technology Together, has given 143 people the opportunity to learn new IT skills.


  • The sessions with John Lewis will take place on March 23 and 30, from 10am to 12 noon, at the All Saints Green store in Norwich and the sessions with OPEN at Bank Plain in Norwich will take place on March 25 and 29, and April 1, 9, 22 and 26, from 2.30pm to 4.30pm.
  • For more information contact Natasha on 01603 496322 or email [email protected]
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