LGNI were funded through the Department of Finance and Personnel’s ‘Go ON NI’ digital inclusion programme in 2016 to deliver intergenerational sessions in schools as a vehicle for getting older people online and engaged in using IT equipment.
The ‘I Tea Time’ project involved working in three school’s including Sacred Heart Grammar School, Newry; Slemish Integrated College, Ballymena and Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College. The schools linked with older people recruited through Newry and Mourne Senior Citizens Consortium, Mid & East Antrim Age Well Partnership (Good Morning Ballymena) and Age North Down and Ards (AGENDA).
Each project involved preparatory sessions with the older and younger people on their own which were followed by the facilitation of four intergenerational IT sessions, which were supported by Barclays Digital Eagles volunteers. These sessions focused on using LGNI’s Digital Age Project (DAP) toolkit as a resource for the younger people to assist the older people using a one-to-one, tailor-made approach to learning. This approach enabled the older learners to learn at their own pace and to focus on their own interest areas. It also maximised the use of the digital skills of their younger partners and the DAP toolkit.
The schools kindly provided the use of their IT equipment and internet access and Barclays’ volunteers provided additional support when necessary. The sessions had the overarching outcome of improving older people’s digital skills but also had the added social element of increasing contact between generations.