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Lewisham Council apprentices help Lewisham homes older residents get internet savvy

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Lewisham Council apprentices help Lewisham homes older residents get internet savvy

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Published by Lewisham Homes for Lewisham Homes in Housing and also in Care and Support, Communities

The old and the young joined by the power of the internet The old and the young joined by the power of the internet

Lewisham Homes and IM&T apprentices from Lewisham Council have teamed up to hold a session for residents living in its sheltered accommodation schemes, bringing old and young together over the internet.

As life becomes increasingly digitalised it is essential that older residents aren’t left behind in the age of the internet - a recent report by the National Housing Federation estimates that around half of all adults who have never been online live in social housing. It is also widely recognised that the over 65s and people with disabilities (data from the Office for National Statistics) are more likely to be digitally excluded too. Having computers installed and learning to the use the internet has been a consistent theme in consultations with residents living in Lewisham Homes’ sheltered accommodation schemes.

In order to help get older residents online, Lewisham Homes has been installing computer hubs at its sheltered accommodation schemes. The one-to-one training sessions were tutored by Lewisham Council’s new intake of IM&T apprentices.

The taster sessions helped residents take their first tentative steps to using the internet.  Barriers such as low confidence and a perception that the internet wasn’t for them were overcome by a chat over tea and biscuits first to discover their interests, and then researching them together using the internet. These included diverse topics such as classic cars, gospel music and Michael Jackson!

The sessions were a hit with residents and Lewisham Homes is planning to increase its online offering to residents, to keep up with their expectations of how they want to engage with and use services using PCs and mobile devices.

National Housing Federation digital inclusion data suggests that 4.1 million of the 8.7 million adults who have never been online live in social housing.

Lewisham Homes manages 18,000 council homes in Lewisham, operates its own repairs and maintenance company and employs more than 450 staff. It is undertaking a major investment programme to improve homes and local communities as well as building new homes in the borough.

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