Bell Green Silver Surfers

"There’s no pressure to catch up or keep up. I learn what I want, when I want."

Based in Bell Green, Coventry, this Trust-funded IT support group is run for and by people over 60 - in fact, most members are in their 70s and 80s. They are developing their IT and social media skills to improve their social connections with friends and family as well as their personal wellbeing, given the emphasis we place on digital communication in modern life.

Volunteers and members take an active role in designing the sessions; not only through the volunteer management group but also during the weekly meeting in the coffee break, when the group becomes a management committee, discussing local community issues, voting on project developments and any potential visitors to the project.

Carol has been involved in Silver Surfers since the beginning. Carol has Parkinson’s disease and had tried a variety of routes to learn about IT, but found other courses were too ‘static’. Carol’s condition means she has good days and bad days and she needed a course that offered more flexibility.

“At Silver Surfers I can learn at my own pace, do what I want to do, it’s perfect for me. I’ve got Parkinson’s, so lots of things are difficult. People assist me on an individual basis. It’s more user-friendly for me… there’s no pressure to catch up or keep up. I learn what I want, when I want.”

Having attended the group for several years, Carol feels more confident and able to use IT on her own, which is having a positive impact on her personal wellbeing.

“My confidence has grown. I can use my iPhone a lot better, if I’m stuck on anything I can ask for help. Silver Surfers is pitched right. I’ve been able to adapt what I’ve learnt.”

This case study was carried out by Ecorys UK, who are conducting an independent evaluation of People's Health Trust's Active Communities programme. This case study formed part of the second year of this evaluation process.

To read the full case study, click here.

You can also find a short video, in which members describe the project's impact, below. It was produced by Ecorys UK.

 

To read the case study conducted at Bell Green Silver Surfers during the first year of Ecorys’ evaluation, click here.

To learn more about the Active Communities evaluation, click here.

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