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Ty Llandaff care home residents have been motivated to get online by school children

A partnership between Ty Llandaff care home and Ysgol Pencae in Cardiff meant that older people who had never been online found out what the internet could offer them – from primary school children who couldn’t imagine life without it. The residents have learnt how to use digital devices and use the internet whilst the children have gained valuable listening and coaching skills.

68% of people who are offline say nothing can motivate them to get online. It’s often difficult to inspire people, particularly older people, to try new technology. This can exacerbate issues such as social isolation and loneliness. The Digital Heroes project is helping combat this issue. Thanks to the infectious enthusiasm of young people, older people are encouraged to try technology for themselves.

The partnership between Ty Llandaff care home and Ysgol Pencae is a wonderful example of this. The Headteacher of Ysgol Pencae, Mrs Parry, wanted to create links with Ty Llandaff. Meanwhile, Mel Geoghegan, activities coordinator at Ty Llandaff, was looking for new things for her residents to try. With support from DCW, the two developed a partnership project based on digital inclusion.

Mrs Parry was very keen for the children at Ysgol Pencae to receive Digital Heroes training from DCW. The training was delivered to 21 pupils aged nine and ten.

Ysgol Pencae then hosted a visit from the Ty Llandaff residents for Safer Internet Day 2018. Three residents visited Ysgol Pencae, where the Digital Heroes showed them how to use digital technology.

The Digital Heroes partnership has had a profound impact on the health and wellbeing of the Ty Llandaff residents and has also allowed the pupils to gain valuable life skills.

The Digital Heroes at Ysgol Pencae gained important interpersonal skills and learnt what skills are needed to help others to use technology. The children also learnt to be patient, as helping someone to get online for the first time can be a slow process. The children also learnt to think about the language that they used, avoiding words that older people might associate with other things, such as tweet, spam and virus.

Meeting the Digital Heroes had a positive impact on the residents’ mental wellbeing and helped minimise the risk of loneliness.

During the digital sessions, the residents and pupils shared stories with other. Jean told one of the children that she had been to Australia, and he informed Jean that he had been there on holiday. Both were able to use technology to look at the places they had visited in Australia.

When Viv attended the Digital Heroes session she was very reserved to begin with and found it difficult to communicate. However, when Harri showed Viv how to use YouTube and played her some of her favourite music, she was able to read the lyrics and sing along. This had a massive positive impact on Viv and she was then very engaged and chatty. Listening to music had made a big difference to her experience. By the end of the session, Viv was asking if she could take the iPad home with her.