Age Action Ireland

Age Action's vision is that Ireland becomes the best place in the world in which to grow older. Our mission is 'to achieve fundamental change in the lives of all older people by empowering them to live full lives as actively engaged citizens and to secure their rights to comprehensive high quality services according to their changing needs'. Age Action's Getting Started programme is a learning and awareness programme encouraging older people to use computers and Internet. Our goal is promoting digital inclusion and positive ageing by providing opportunities for older people to use computers, the Internet and mobile phones.

Age Action Ireland
30-31 Lower Camden Street
Dublin, Dublin 2
Ireland
0035314756989
http://www.ageaction.ie

Management Team

Robin Webster, Lorraine Dorgan

Board of Directors

John Cassidy, Roger Coughlan, Rosemary Hanna, David Healy, David Henshaw, Julie Hogan, Joan McDermott, Owen O'Sullivan, Margaret Pilkington

Project Leaders

Pauline Power

Mission

Age Action's vision is that Ireland becomes the best place in the world in which to grow older. Our mission is 'to achieve fundamental change in the lives of all older people by empowering them to live full lives as actively engaged citizens and to secure their rights to comprehensive high quality services according to their changing needs'. Age Action's Getting Started programme is a learning and awareness programme encouraging older people to use computers and Internet. Our goal is promoting digital inclusion and positive ageing by providing opportunities for older people to use computers, the Internet and mobile phones.

Programs

Age Action's Getting Started Programme is a volunteer-led training programme whose aims are to make ICT training for the over 55's accessible, enjoyable, affordable and equitable. The programme runs computer and mobile phone classes across Ireland and has trained over 11,000 older people since 2006. The service has expended since it started and also runs monthly IT workshops, an Internet Cafes for older people in Dublin and Galway and provides free technical support for its learners. We raise awareness of the benefit of ICT for older people with our annual Silver Surfer awards and regular Try IT! exhibitions. Age Action is a member of INDIE (Irish Network for Digital Inclusion and Engagement) whose aim is to create a digitally inclusive Ireland which creates equal chances for all to engage with digital services and opportunities. The Getting Stared programme has been recognised in 2012 with a National Star Award for excellence in adult education. Our learning programme was designed with the challenges and barriers experienced by older learners in mind such as older people's fear of technology or feeling they are too older to learn. We created a supportive learning environment that is relaxed, non-formal and sociable so they do not feel intimidated by technology. Training material has been developed specifically for older people, with flexibility engrained and content tailored to suit the pace of each individual learner. Each person may require different levels of support, encouragement and practice. The one-to-one tuition supports this approach and also allows learners to access websites that are of particular interest to them. This has proved very successful in engaging older people with the online world. Concern has been expressed for many years about the digital divide and the gulf between young and old. Less than 30% of people in Ireland aged over 65 use the internet. Age Action is addressing this divide because without interventions and training tailored to older people's needs this gap will widen. Digital literacy is now a necessity for accessing health and welfare information, for using online services as well as maintaining contact with family and friends. The latter is particularly important in light of the increase in emigration due to the economic recession and the dispersion of families across the globe Confidence in using the internet tackles the social exclusion that many older people may feel, helping them to stay active, healthy and less isolated. An aim of Getting Started is to create a more inclusive community and older learners meet volunteer tutors from their local area and subsequently both learner and volunteer become more engaged within their local area. The programme continues to evolve and we carry out regular evaluation of the programme. In 2011 we looked at the barriers to continued IT use among our previous service user and identified a lack of post-course support and technical issues with computers as two of the barriers. We established an Internet Cafe for older people to provide additional post-course support and provide free technical support. The Getting Started programme plays a central role in raising awareness on the importance of ICT for older people. Each year the Silver Surfer awards highlight older people that use technology daily. We also run regular free Try IT! events where older people can try new devices and learn more about technology. Local partnerships and shared resources are an essential element of Getting Started. We partner with almost 200 organisations across the country - corporations, libraries, family resource centres, community centres, corporations, city and county councils, volunteer centres, third level colleges, active age and retirement groups. We share our training materials online so any group working with older people and technology can access them. In 2011 we partnered with HP in Leixlip and ran the Getting Started programme in-house. HP employees volunteered one hour a week and taught older family members or people from the local community basic computer skills. The courses ran once a week for 6 weeks and to date over 50 older people have been trained and the feedback has been excellent both from the volunteer and the older learners. We hope to continue this successful partnership in 2012. Irish people who have lived through decades of social, economic, environmental and technological change can now feel like 21st century citizens and no longer feeling 'left out'.

Statistics on Age Action Ireland

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