Silsden 'tea and tablet' scheme to be expanded

A project to help older people in Silsden improve their technology skills is to return in the summer after proving a hit.

Friends of Silsden Town Hall’s ‘Cobbydale Connected’ scheme in partnership with Worth Connecting aims to reduce loneliness and isolation for older residents by giving them the confidence to use technology to connect with family and friends.

The 'tea and tablet' classes were set up following a positive uptake for a scheme where residents were loaned a tablet computer during the pandemic. Over the course of seven sessions, group members are taught essential tech skills like how to use email, how to download apps, and how to keep themselves safe online. 

Group attendee, Mildred, said: “They’ve been very useful sessions, it’s helpful to have someone come to sit with you in a small group. It’s informal and there’s input from the volunteers that’s helpful.” 

Ann, a regular attendee, said: “It’s nice to have someone sit with you to show you how to do things. It’s a safe environment to play around with your tablet. I’d say to anyone who isn’t sure about coming to not be nervous. I thought I couldn’t do it and now I turn up every week.”

Chairman of Silsden Town Hall, Paul Kilgallon, said: “The feedback from our Cobbydale Connected programme has been immensely positive. We’re grateful for the partnership with Worth Connecting, who have provided telephone and face-to-face training. Our fantastic tablet loan scheme is due to the generosity of the Keighley Community Health Grant, supported by Give Bradford, The BG Campbell Trust Fund and Power to Change, which enabled us to purchase over fifteen tablets for Silsden residents above the age of 55. 

“We look forward to continuing to offer IT training sessions and expand our tablet loan scheme so that more Silsden residents can have access to technology and feel confident when using it.” 

The Tea and Tablet training scheme is set to renew again later this summer. Tablets, which come with internet access, are also available for loan for any Silsden, or surrounding area, resident above the age of 55. Anyone who wishes to participate in the free tablet training, or would like to loan a tablet, can do so by contacting Silsden Town Hall on 01535 959561 or emailing cobbydaleconnected@silsdentownhall.org.uk.

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