Older people in Hackney get online thanks to help from young volunteers


A new intergenerational digital training programme matching younger people with older people has launched in Hackney.

The Digital Buddies Programme is led by volunteers aged 16-18, who provide one to one training to help older people get online and navigate the internet. The programme has already seen one older person set up an Instagram account, with others able to google and watch videos about their interests. 

The training sessions are delivered over the phone and cover a variety of topics of the older persons choosing from setting up an email account to learning how to shop online.

Programmes like this will help older people who are digitally excluded and shielding because of the coronavirus pandemic, connect more into society, and carry on experiencing the things they love, such as music, dancing and bird watching from the safety of their home. 

Cllr Yvonne Maxwell, Mayoral Advisor for Older People
Having a basic understanding of how to navigate the internet can really help people in their daily activities. It helps to keep families in touch, get food on the table, and people learning. It’s more important than ever to support people, where we can, to get online. We know that many older people who do have a smartphone or tablet don’t have the confidence to use them on their own. 

Our new Digital Buddies Programme is about trying to help reinforce these skills and help them feel more independent and connected.
Cllr Yvonne Maxwell, Mayoral Advisor for Older People
My buddy helped give me the confidence to use Instagram - something I’ve always wanted to do. They were so supportive, made it easy to follow and now I want to learn something else!
Amarjit, a 72 year old Hackney resident,Amarjit, 72 year old Hackney resident and programme participant
I am very humbled to be a part of the buddies programme in Hackney as communication and social interaction has decreased substantially due to Covid -19, the buddies programme has helped re-establish this connection in the community and get more of the elderly on social platforms.
Armajit’s buddy, 18 year old Jake

The programme is also complemented by a digital skills webpage, that hosts how-to videos and written guides for those that may prefer self-learning or would like a reminder of how to do something that they learnt with a buddy.

Find out more about the Digital Buddies Programme at hackney.gov.uk/hackneycouncildigitalbuddies/home or email: digitalskills@hackney.gov.uk

Digital Buddies is part of the Ageing Well Strategy, which sets out the Council’s vision for an age-friendly borough where older residents feel empowered, informed, valued and supported. The strategy is currently being consulted on, add your comments here. As not everyone is online, if you have a family member, friend or neighbour who might be interested in responding to Hackney's Ageing Well Strategy, they can contact 0208 356 4979 to receive a hard copy or request a call back service for feedback.