Several years ago, John Pozzley at Twin Cedars Over 50s Lifestyle Village asked his community of 120 retirees if they would be interested in forming a computer club. The response was overwhelmingly positive and from there began John’s journey as a digital mentor.
He spent the next few years gathering computer resources and looking for volunteers who were comfortable teaching others. He also spent this time attending seminars and talking to other people who had formed their own computer clubs for seniors. It was through these conversations that he found out about the Be Connected program, and he knew that it was the perfect way to start up his computer club.
“The wait for Be Connected was worth it. We started off with the $2,000 Activation grant and used it to purchase 3 tablets and refurbish 2 of our desktop computers. Providing a mix of technology is very helpful for our keen learners and beginners to technology.”
After 2 years of delivering the program, the club is very well established in his community. They meet weekly and usually have up to 10 people attend each session. “The Be Connected learning courses are very easy to grasp and our learners are powering through the tasks and enjoying learning new skills every week. Our computer club is a place where you can have your morning tea, learn something and meet someone new”.
Members are supported to learn at their own pace. One learner, Brenda, took longer than others to get started due to her unfamiliarity and overall fear of computers. With time, Brenda got used to operating more and more aspects of the computer by herself and was finally able to use a mouse. Once familiar with the basics, John showed her how to use Google Earth and Brenda was amazed that she was able to virtually and instantly visit almost any part of the world. Brenda’s first digital excursion was to Port Said, Egypt.
The success of the Twin Cedars Over 50s Lifestyle Village program has been recognised by the wider community. Federal member, Andrew Wallace MP, opened their Get Online Week event and was very impressed with the turnout.
When asked if he has advice for other Network Partners about delivering Be Connected, John says, “Just do it!!! It’s very easy to apply for any of the grants which can be used to purchase equipment and anything else you need to meet the grant criteria. You will be helping so many people achieve things that they never thought they could do and they’ll be able to keep in touch with loved ones and friends.”