Carla Lockhart, the Council Mayor and Margarita O Donnell, from Loughshore Access Project, presented seven members of Maghery Diamond Club with certificates for participating in a free IPAD for beginners course and twelve members from Maghery youth club for their invaluable contribution throughout the six weeks. Relationships were really strengthened throughout this intergenerational project and great fun and laughter was had by all.
This course was facilitated through BT Connected Communities as part of the Get IT Together programme, in partnership with the UK charity, Citizens Online. They are investing resources to help increase public access to the internet through providing fun informal computer sessions to help build confidence and skills for new users and job seekers. In Northern Ireland we have a fantastic fibre broadband infrastructure and we want to ensure that as many people as possible benefit from that.
Maghery Community Hall had won a BT Community Connections award, providing free broadband to the Centre for a year. Maghery Diamond Club has benefited from this service and taken part in a FREE introductory IPAD course. This course was organised in conjunction with Loughshore Access Project, which is a health and well-being initiative, run by South Lough Neagh Regeneration Association.
Members of the local youth group helped older members of the Diamond Club discover some of the benefits of being online using their ipads and downloading apps.
The Club would like to thank Anita Kelly, Project Coordinator for Citizens Online in N Ireland, for creating a relaxed learning environment throughout the course, to the young people who came along every week to help, to the SHSCT for funding the ipads, and the Community Hall for the use of their training facilities and internet, all of which has made this course possible.
Anne Fox, participant said:
“We’ve learned so much more about the opportunities existing for us by being connected to the internet and the various apps we can download to help us keep in contact with each other, increasing our health and social well being and reducing social and rural isolation.”
Members were able to carry out various health checks through downloading apps eg to check their blood pressure and stress levels.
They were able to search for information about their favourite hobbies eg sport and tv programmes, reserve and download e-books, check the weather forecast and latest news headlines, communicate with friends and family through sending e-mails and face time, save money on bills using comparison websites and get easy access to local services eg Council, Translink, Money Advice Service. They also learned how to use google maps and download crosswords and word searches. Both the young and young at heart had great fun taking and editing photos, playing 4 in a row, solitaire, watching funny youtube videos and new connections were made, both with each other and online.
Francis Fee, participant said: “This course was very enjoyable and I learned so much more than I thought I ever could – I’d recommend everyone to get online, as there’s something to suit everyone’s interests. The young people were very helpful and showed us how to set up emails and download different apps.”
The Group are also participating in Citizens Online research study, to help understand more about the way people use the internet. They will be contacted over a two year period to ask them about their internet usage, at 3 months, 6 months, 1 year and 2 years after they’ve complete the training. The survey takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. The results will be used to measure the success of the training and provide a better understanding of the way people use the internet and the barriers preventing it’s use.
Citizens Online have trained local volunteers to help take people through the basics and get them online and /or increase employment opportunities through online job searches, applications and uploading CV’s to recruitment agencies etc. Free six week informal introductory courses are being run in a number of Community Venues across the West at various times, tailored to suit the needs of local participants and increase their computer confidence.
BT Connected Communities are currently based in the Gasyard, Caw, Maydown and Draperstown in Co Derry~Londonderry; Pomeroy and Augher in Co Tyrone; and Enniskillen, Ederney and Irvinestown in Co Fermanagh.
If you know how to use a computer, ipad or tablet and would like to help others realise the benefits of being online, please contact Anita to find out how and where you can volunteer and the dates/venues of the next training sessions. This time can contribute towards the Millennium Volunteers Award for people under 30 years old and will also be a good edition to your CV. For others, it’s a great way of using your skills to help others and meet new people, making a real difference to their lives.
If you or your group would like to learn more about how the project could benefit you, want to help others get online or find out about our Research study, please feel free to contact your local Connected Community Centre or Anita Kelly, Project Co ordinator, T: 078 1857 3617 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are already online, please follow us on twitter:@GetITTogetherNI orFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/CitizensOnlineNI?ref=hl or visit our websites www.citizensonline.org.uk www.btconnectedcommunities.com