Bridging the digital divide in Essex – A group of Bangladeshi women receive technical training

A group of Bangladeshi women in Essex received an introductory training session on how to access and use online services by national charity for the elderly Independent Age.
The charity held its first Tech Taster Experience day for the Essex Bangladeshi Women’s Association in Colchester. During the four-hour event, 25 people over the age of 65 received advice on how to get online and stay connected, as well as tips on how to stay safe online and avoid online abuse. to be a victim of fraud.

Attendees learned how using the Internet can make their lives easier and got tips on how to do many of the things people take for granted online, like booking grocery delivery slots, accessing government and municipal services and use Internet banking services. They learned to connect with others, making video calls to loved ones and joining local online groups.

Kate Hardy, social worker for Independent Age in Essex, said: ‘During the lockdown, many older people in Essex have felt left out of the opportunity to join online groups or make the most of the technology they had. As there was an increased reliance on online communication and the ability to access help and support online, they felt left behind.

“Our work with the Bangladeshi Women’s Association is so important in bridging this digital divide and reconnecting older people with their loved ones and with the community. I look forward to bringing these Tech Taster sessions to other Essex communities so we can ensure as many older people as possible have access to online services.

Salma Ahmed, project officer at the Essex Bangladeshi Women’s Association, said: “The older Bangladeshi women in our group are particularly at risk of becoming digitally isolated and many don’t even have the confidence to even try. to go online. We are grateful to the Independent Age team and volunteers for reaching out to our members and letting them know how to use technology devices and be safe online.

The event was organized in partnership with Colchester Council’s Digital Access team and served as a gateway to their eight-week digital skills series.

Tech Tasters are facilitated by Samsung tablets, donated by Essex County Council, and are on long-term loan to individuals, with the option of portable Wi-Fi boxes. The Independent Age team aims to distribute tablets in nursing homes where older people who cannot afford internet access can use communal Wi-Fi and can be supported by staff to get the most out of it. of technology.

The Independent Age community services team in Essex focus on connecting people aged 65+ with others with similar interests and experiences, including local friendship volunteers ; activities in their own communities and other local services that may be helpful.

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