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Computer converts get to grips with gadgets thanks to Online Owls project

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Computer converts get to grips with gadgets thanks to Online Owls project

CESTRIA COMMUNITY HOUSING Logo

Published by Kelly Elliott for Cestria Community Housing in Housing and also in Communities

Chester-le-Street residents learn more about using laptops, mobile phones, tablets and the internet with the help of volunteers at the Techy Tea Party event - part of Cestria Community Housing’s Online Owls project. Chester-le-Street residents learn more about using laptops, mobile phones, tablets and the internet with the help of volunteers at the Techy Tea Party event - part of Cestria Community Housing’s Online Owls project.

A special event, aimed at helping County Durham residents “switch on” to computers and the internet has proved a great success.

The ‘Techy Tea Party’, organised by housing provider Cestria Community Housing and held at Durham County Cricket Club, attracted more than 30 people who wanted to get to grips with their new tablets, computers and mobile phones.

The event was the first organised through Cestria’s new Online Owls project and was arranged with the help of mobile phone company EE, which provided 20 volunteers to pass on their skills.

“We were delighted with the response,” said Paul Bainbridge, ICT Projects Officer for Cestria.

“The event attracted people of all ages who all had different needs. Some wanted to learn how to use eBay, others how to use Facebook. It lasted about two hours and I think everyone went away very happy.”

The Online Owls project, which was set up in December, received £9,500 from the Big Lottery Fund and is supported by The Durham County Cricket Foundation, the Foundation of Light, the Chester-le-Street & District Area Action Partnership, Go ON UK and Chester-le-Street Volunteer Centre.

Within weeks of the project launching more than 125 residents had signed up and the team is now hoping to organise further events over the next few months.

One possible event in the pipeline could involve pupils from the Hermitage Academy in Chester-le-Street, who took part in a similar event last year, helping learners to use social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

“I think it’s important that we keep the ball rolling,” added Paul. “There’s no point organising sessions if we don’t follow them up. We could tell someone how to join Facebook but, if they encounter problems, they may become downhearted and give up. That’s why it’s essential that we organise feedback so we can help residents overcome such setbacks.”

Anyone wanting to find out about future courses and events should contact Online Owls on 0191 385 1436, email onlineowls@cestria.org or visit www.onlineowls.co.uk. The group is also accessible at the ‘Online Owls’ Facebook page or by following @OnlineOwls on Twitter.

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