Brent charity helps older people stay connected during pandemic

A group of older people father round computer screens.

The Sudbury Neighbourhood Centre offers computer skills training which has proved beneficial for elderly service users during the coronavirus 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. "

Older people working at computer screens.

Sudbury Neighbourhood Centre received a £3,000 urgent grant in early 2020 from the London Freemasons Charity. - Credit: Sudbury Neighbourhood Centre

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. 


Older people work at computer screens.

Sudbury Neighbourhood Centre is a Brent charity providing day care for vulnerable, elderly people. - Credit: Sudbury Neighbourhood Centre

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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.” 

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READ MORE: Coronavirus: Brent businesses in for a boost after Brent Central MP secures government funding with cross party support

READ MORE: 'We need you to stay at home' - Northwick Park Hospital

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