Seniors to surf more in WA…

Seniors learning computers

Nedlands-based Linkwest has partnered with the Country Women’s Association, Men’s Sheds of WA and Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association in a bid to train up more than 100 ‘digital mentors’ across Western Australia who will in turn assist seniors in the community to become more digitally literate.

The partnership has resulted in a $100,000 grant from The Good Things Foundation’s Be Connected project, an Australian government initiative committed to increasing the confidence, skills and online safety of older Australians, to roll out digital skills training programs which are tailored to the needs of individual communities.

The initiative will see each not-for-profit peak body train a number individuals within their organisations to become Lead Digital Mentors. These Lead Mentors will then roll out training to their member organisations to upskill 120 digital mentors within their networks, who will then be able to provide members of the community with advice and support in better understanding and navigating the online world.

Jane Chilcott, CEO of Linkwest, says the organisation is delighted to have received its fourth Be Connected grant, which has enabled the four not-for-profit peak organisations to work collaboratively together for the first time to help build digital literacy across their member organisations and, in turn, support older people in communities across Western Australia.

“As an organisation, Linkwest is very aware of the impact of social isolation in the community, especially in the context of the current pandemic, which is why we want to do as much as we can to increase people’s digital literacy skills throughout Western Australia.

“Learning digital skills can be intimidating for many people, but by partnering with these three trusted, community-based, not-for-profit peak bodies, we believe we can reach many more West Australians who will really benefit from increased digital literacy.

“The Be Connected initiative enables older people to gain confidence with technology, while at the same time take pleasure from mastering new skills – all while making some new friends and having a good time.”

Country Women’s Association’s WA State President, Elaine Johnson, says the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for CWA members to connect with each other and their community.

“CWA members have historically been agile in adapting to difficult times, and technology provides a powerful opportunity when people can’t meet face to face. We are excited to work together with Linkwest, Men’s Sheds of WA and ASSCA on this project.”

Jennifer Willcox, Vice President of Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association, says this is the second successful partnership between Linkwest and ASCCA, which sees ASCCA leading the project.

“ASCCA is pleased to once again be working in WA, with past partner Linkwest and new partners CWA and Men’s Sheds of WA, to deliver the Be Connected program,” she says.  “Through new network building, ASCCA will seek opportunities to support seniors in the area of learning technology and the establishment of affiliated clubs within those groups.”

James Wild, CEO of Men’s Sheds of WA, says: “The team at Men’s Sheds of WA are thrilled to be involved in this partnership. Social isolation is a big issue affecting many people and communities across the whole of WA, and through combining our efforts and sharing knowledge and resources, the partnership will achieve the greatest impact.”