Middleton Elderly Aid are a charity promoting independence amongst the over-60s living in Middleton, Leeds. They do fantastic work and provide a huge range of services and activities for local older people such as lunch clubs, coffee mornings, day trips, exercise classes, holidays, games, bingo, hearing aid clinics and more. Being in one of the most digitally excluded areas in Leeds and working with some of the most excluded demographics it was a natural fit for them to join the 100% Digital Leeds movement.
From the start it was clear that 100% Digital Leeds and Middleton Elderly Aid had shared goals including:
Improving health and wellbeing for residents
Reducing social isolation
We first met in June 2018 and discussed the work that we were both doing. From this we identified that Middleton Elderly Aid could benefit from joining the Online Centres Network. They had a Beginners ICT class being run by Age UK but this was coming to an end and there was interest for more digital skills training from the members. Becoming an Online Centre gave them access to the online learning platform Learn My Way as well as other benefits such as support from Good Things Foundation and access to funding opportunities.
In September 2018 in order to facilitate further digital skills learning at the centre they submitted a tablet lending application form. We were delighted to add them to our tablet lending scheme and they borrowed four iPads for use in their classes.
The classes covered a wide variety of learning, members brought in their own tablets or devices if they had them, and those who did not have their own equipment were able to use one of our iPads. Subjects covered included the controls of a tablet, details around settings and accessibility, how to take photos and send them to family and friends, and how to use apps to make their lives easier.
“I usually prefer to do things manually but I have my own tablet at home which I find useful for a few things like Ebay, Googling and keeping in touch with friends. There was a mix of people on the course from those who had their own PCs or tablets to those who had never been online before. I brought my device with me and learned some useful tips which will help me get more use out it. Middleton Elderly Aid really is a hub of the community and the digital skills training is another of the great services provided here that can help older people try something new, make friends and improve their wellbeing.” Denise – centre member and volunteer.
Following the classes Middleton Elderly Aid were successful in obtaining an activation grant of £1,500 through the Join the Movement funding scheme that 100% Digital Leeds and Good Things Foundation ran until October 2018. Having proved the benefits through our tablet lending scheme they are using this money to purchase some iPads of their own and will be running another six-week Beginners ICT course in January, with a view to providing ongoing digital skills support for their members.
“Being involved with 100% Digital Leeds and Leeds Libraries has helped open up new opportunities for Middleton Elderly Aid and our members as well as securing new funding for us to buy our own devices which will help us going forward. Supporting our members to improve their digital skills promotes independence and enables them to save time and money in their day to day lives. Adding digital elements to the work that we’re already doing will help us ensure that nobody is left behind in an increasingly digital world.” – Sam, Operations Manager.
If your organisation would like to learn how to incorporate digital into the work you’re doing with residents please get in touch. There are more funding opportunities in the pipeline and we’re always looking at new ways for organisations across Leeds to assist their service users with digital.
Middleton Elderly Aid are also looking for volunteers and if you’d like to help out or learn more about the organisation you can contact them on firstname.lastname@example.org