My Complete Focus visit electronics club

Toby demonstrates an electronic contraptionsusan and john contemplate solderingSusan Ryder and Toby McGowan from My Complete Focus visited the techy tea club and electronics club on Tuesday. They volunteered helping the students at the Techy Tea Club. Then Toby demonstrated a Heath Robinson style contraption at the electronics club, which impressed all of us.

By Damian Griffiths at 17 Jan 2018

Thanks to Honor Oak Community Centre for our laptops

laptops donated by honor oak community centreThanks very much to Honor Oak Community Centre, who have donated 10 laptops and a computer to Ewart Community Hall after upgrading their ICT suite. This is the seed from which our own ICT suite will grow. A great example of community centre cross fertilisation.

By Damian Griffiths at 13 Jan 2018

CatBytes will be building the new site for Stanstead Lodge

james dobson, maureen bishop and grahame mandelli with seniors techy tea studentStanstead Lodge is the new name for the community space known to many of us in the South of Lewisham as Seniors. As its name suggests, the venue caters for the elderly, having been a Derby and Joan club in the past. However, they are broadening their horizons now, particularly as their cafe is open most days and sells the best coffee and walnut cake in Lewisham. With a change of image comes a revamp of their social media strategy. Or perhaps this is not so much of a revamp as a "vamp", as Seniors didn't have an independent online presence until now. The good people of Stanstead Lodge are, however, the major contributors to the Lewisham Pensioners' Gazette. They clearly know about producing good quality content, and we will be teaching them how to do this in Wordpress once the site is live. 

By Damian Griffiths at 12 Jan 2018

What skills do you need to be a buddy?

A buddy with a student at saint mauritius houseWhen I ask people if they might be interested in becoming a techy tea buddy, they often pull a look of horror and say something like "I couldn't do that, I don't know enough about the internet!". I usually ask them if they can do a Google search, if they can send emails and text messages. They usually admit they can do things.  "Well you qualify, then" I respond. "If you can do those things you have the technical skills required. There's only one skill you need on top of that - PATIENCE".

People don't often realise how inexperienced people over 65 are with internet use. They also don't realise that the major barrier to elderly people learning is fear. A recent report produced by the Poverty and Social Exclusion in the United Kingdom research project found that 

  • older people are much more likely to be afraid of breaking something when they use tablets or laptops. Whereas 6% of student report having this fear, and 16% of the employed, 45% of older people report being afraid of this
  • 43% of older people say they feel technologies can't be trusted because they fail at important times, compared with 15% of the employed and 5% of students [1]

Quite often, as a buddy, all you have to do is encourage an older person to have the confidence to carry out the action they are thinking of without worrying too much about the consequences. That's why we make our clubs informal and social. It helps to create an easy-going and friendly environment, not one focussed on targets or using classroom style teaching. We don't make a distinction between students coming to learn, or coming for social reasons. They are all part of the same thing, as the purpose is to make using tablets and laptops feel like a normal activity which we are all included in. Inducing this feeling is the key to buddying.

[1]Poverty and Social Exclution Report
By Damian Griffiths at 24 Dec 2017

First Article

By Damian Griffiths at 24 Dec 2017