Older Sutton borough residents wanting to keep in touch with friends and families through the internet and other digital tools were given a helping hand recently, thanks to Sutton Council and Age UK Sutton.
The two organisations hosted a Digital Tea Party for residents to help them get updated with the latest digital trends.
With many people eager to take advantage of the offer, the event was fully booked with more than 100 people taking part at Sutton Civic Offices.
The Digital Tea Party featured brief lessons in topics ranging from using email and social media to staying safe online. There were also more in-depth presentations on using tools such as Skype and taking part in video calls.
The event was officially opened by Tom Brake, Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Carshalton and Wallington.
Tom has built up a reputation as one of Parliament’s most active users of social media and digital technology, including his hosting of innovative Facebook surgeries that allow constituents to question him over social media.
Talking at the event, Tom said: “This event is a great chance for the older generation to get even more up to date with the latest technology. Social media is a brilliant resource for people of all ages and the Digital Tea Party gives a great introduction to modern technology and gives people the confidence they need to make full use of it.”
Ruth Dombey, Liberal Democrat Leader of Sutton Council, said: "It was wonderful to see so many volunteers sharing their skills and showing how easy it is to send an email, set up a Facebook page and use Skype to keep in touch with family around the country and the world. Sometimes new technology can seem daunting but all it takes is a patient friend to break down those barriers."
For some attendees it was their first introduction to the digital world. They had the opportunity to start using laptops and tablet devices, and to learnt about the machines with the help of staff and volunteers from Age UK Sutton and the Council.
Marion Harper, CEO of Age UK Sutton said: “Digital Inclusion has been identified as a priority by members of One Voice for Age – a user engagement group run by older people, for older people and hosted by Age UK Sutton. With funding received from the Big Lottery, we have developed a comprehensive menu of digital services designed to empower learners, and to teach them the things they want to learn at their own pace.”