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Hyde residents Spring Online


Published by Emma Tedman for The Hyde Group in Housing and also in Local Government

Cllr Seaton present certificates to Owen Spencer, Chelsi Beale and volunteer Jean Costello. Cllr Seaton present certificates to Owen Spencer, Chelsi Beale and volunteer Jean Costello.

Residents of three Hyde shelter schemes in Peterborough were joined by Councillor David Seaton on Monday 31 March to mark the start of national Spring Online week by thanking the three young people who volunteered their time to teach them new digital skills. The project is part of Hyde’s Switched On campaign which aims to encourage residents to get more out of life by getting online.

The young volunteers aged 17 and 18 were originally working towards their Duke of Edinburgh award, but have continued to help out ever since. One of them, Chelsi Jade Beale recently won the TalkTalk Young Digital Hero award for her role in the project, helping older people get to grips with new technology. Two of the young people and a resident volunteer were presented with special certificates of thanks from the residents they helped. There was also a digital quiz which got very competitive.

The young people volunteer on a weekly basis at Steve Woolley Court, Sweetbriar Lane and Tuckers Court in Peterborough helping residents to get to grips with new technology, using it for everything from texting to making video calls or looking up their family history online.

Hyde’s local Regeneration Co-ordinator Taseef Younas said: “The project has really helped our older residents to build up their confidence and make better use of the digital technology available to them. Those new skills are really important and can help them stay in touch with family and friends or save money by banking or shopping online.”

As part of the Switched On campaign Hyde has invested a total of £80,000 in new technology, creating digi-hubs with equipment and free wifi in five of its community centres. Residents in the shelter schemes have also benefited from new touch screen computers, as well as easy use mouse and keyboards.

Councillor David Seaton said: "Tackling digital inclusion is really important and we need to find new innovative ways of helping people get online. Hyde's Switched On project is addressing this issue and making a really positive difference to people lives. I was impressed with the work being done as well as the facilities and the friendly atmosphere. It was great seeing first-hand how Peterborough residents have benefited."

Councillor Seaton presented certificates and vouchers to two of the young people, as well as resident volunteer Jean Costello, who runs an informal internet at Sweet Briar (shelter scheme) on a weekly basis, helping residents get to grips with technology.

Speaking after her recent award win 18 year old Chelsi summed up the dual benefits of this project, of not only introducing people to an exciting new digital world, but also bringing people together and breaking down the age barrier which exists in so many of today’s communities. “Helping older people at Hyde’s sheltered schemes get to grips with new technology has been the most wonderful experience! By volunteering, I've made so many new friends and seeing them learn new things is so rewarding.”

Hyde is tackling digital inclusion throughout its areas of operation in a variety of ways, including specialist tailored projects like this, free drop-in sessions at community centres and one-to-one support in the home. Find out more about what’s available in your area by contacting Hyde Plus on 0800 030 4424, visiting or email



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