Last week Age UK London launched our new report “Wealth of the Web” written by Ben Donovan, calling for more support to help older people get online and take advantage of the digital world: http://www.ageuk.org.uk/london/
The fact that, for example, 78% of people over 75 in London are not online at a time when more and more Government services (central and local) are becoming “digital by default” is making a lot of people sit up and take notice, and it feels as if this is an issue whose time has come. Our launch event was attended by representatives from eg. the Cabinet Office and Government Digital Service, Ofcom and a major bank as well as the Greater London Authority. Since then we’ve been invited onto the Government’s Digital Inclusion Stakeholder Group along with Microsoft, BT, Everything Everywhere … OK, more meetings I know but there does seem to be a head of steam getting up to do something about digital inclusion, with Lottery funding on its way.
So far I’ve emphasised getting people online to access services, but we’ve realised as we’ve gone along that what will really get people wanting to go digital is starting from people’s interests: keeping up with family and friends, a hobby … This has been really clear from the digital inclusion/engagement projects we’ve run so far.
Our launch was at an event run by Positive Ageing in London, the London regional forum on ageing which is one of a network of forums in every English region working with the DWP (and of course, with the Mayor and other London regional bodies): http://pailondon.org.uk/ Before the report launch, we put on an interactive workshop where just over 50 older people gave their ideas on what gets people interested in the digital world, and the barriers to getting online.
The workshop was facilitated by David Wilcox and Drew Mackie, and David has reported on it in his blog: http://socialreporter.com/?p=2803 One challenge for service providers coming out of all this is that until recently it was assumed that “computer classes” would involve learning to use either desktop computers or laptops, but now many people expect to use tablets, smartphones or other devices.
Age UK London hosted a Q&A on the topic of digital inclusion for older people from their Twitter handle @ageuklondon on Tuesday 28 January at 12.00pm. The complete Q&A can be viewed on Storify.
We very much hope to work with a lot of partners to support more older people getting online, if you’re interested in this it would be great to hear from you and we’ll come back to it in the blog!