Brent charity helps older people stay connected during pandemic
- Credit: Sudbury Neighbourhood Centre
A Brent charity providing daycare for vulnerable, elderly people has been helping service users boost their computer skills to help them cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
A £3,000 grant provided by the London Freemasons Charity saw Sudbury Neighbourhood Centre (SNP) set up and run computer classes which have proved beneficial for the more than 200 people it supports each year.
Neil White, chief executive of SNP, told the Gazette he was “extremely grateful” for the grant awarded in early 2020: “Many older adults have limited access or knowledge of the internet and are at a disadvantage in our digital world.
“The coronavirus pandemic has shown the usefulness of this training, which has literally provided a lifeline for many older people who have been isolated in their homes since March of this year. "
By boosting their skills in computing, the charity, which was founded in 1979, aims to reduce loneliness for its service users.
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The centre's service users have an average age of 82 and come from all ethnic backgrounds. Many who rely on the centre's services also have limited income and savings or suffer from dementia and other complex conditions such as strokes, cancer or osteoporosis.
Weekly computer lessons hosted by a part-time, fully-qualified IT tutor and bespoke computer suite help older people access the internet for vital information and services, do online shopping and keep in touch with family and friends.
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While there is a small charge to clients for these lessons, it does not cover the full cost of service and in October 2019, the centre approached the London Freemasons Charity to apply for a grant to cover the shortfall and enable its work to continue last year and going forward.
Tony Shields of London Freemasons said: “This is a hugely important project, bringing access to the internet for elderly residents in our community. I’m proud that London Masons are able to give help during this difficult time.”
Learn more at www.sudburyneighbourhoodcentre.co.uk