Sanctuary surfers making waves in Maidstone
Published by rtownsend for Sanctuary Housing Association in Communities and also in Education, Housing
Residents from a retirement scheme in Maidstone are being given the opportunity to get online and surf the web thanks to a Sanctuary Housing initiative which is helping people learn interactive IT skills direct in their own home.
Sanctuary’s Gigs and Megs project is designed to teach residents how to use computers and see the benefits that digital technology can bring, such as communicating with friends and family or using online banking services.
Residents from Rocky Hill Terrace, which is owned and managed by Sanctuary Housing, have started taking part in the classes which are currently being delivered by a volunteer from the local Maidstone Rotary Club.
The course, which is run completely free of charge, is allowing residents to take part in small group sessions followed by dedicated one-to-one training covering their chosen area of interest such as working with photographs and images.
Amanda Fairman, Rocky Hill’s scheme manager, said: “The classes have started very well and residents are having a wonderful time learning all these exciting and new skills.
“One of our residents has already agreed to be a computer champion, and in return will receive extra IT training so he can offer support with delivering sessions in the future. With the grant from Sanctuary we have not only been able to buy computer equipment, but also a Webcam so residents can learn how to Skype their friends and family – they really are going digital.”
The Gigs and Megs project is being run successfully at a number of Sanctuary schemes across the country and is set to support dozens of residents who may not currently have access to the internet or IT equipment.
Kate Still, Sanctuary’s Director of Housing Operations (London and South East), added: “Digital communication can be life changing but getting into IT can be intimidating, especially for residents who are not familiar with technology. These practical sessions are a very positive way of bringing residents together and they are being supported to learn valuable skills which could open up a world of new opportunities for them.”