Older people across the Bournemouth area invited by BT to improve their online abilities at a town centre cafe

BT is inviting older people in Bournemouth to come along and improve their digital skills over tea or coffee in the town centre from Wednesday 18th until Thursday 19th October. 

Aimed at people aged 65 or above, the free sessions will offer support on how to get things done safely online, and help with using different digital devices.

The sessions will be held at Frieda’s Tearoom on Stafford Rd in the centre of Bournemouth, with the café turned into the ‘BTea Room’ over two days. BT will be offering free food, teas and 
coffees to those who come along and take part.

Hosted in partnership between BT and UK charity AbilityNet, tech experts will be on hand to offer advice to older people, from complete beginners to those looking to increase their confidence online.

They’ll offer support on the basics and carrying out everyday tasks like online shopping, to support on specific devices and how the internet can help older people socialise and stay in touch with friends and family. A key focus of the training will be on online safety and avoiding scams.

With more and more everyday activities such as booking a doctor’s appointment, shopping, banking and paying bills increasingly difficult to do without going online, there are concerns that some older people may be missing out due to a lack of confidence or access to the internet.

Bournemouth Echo:

The charity Centre for Ageing Better says that although internet use is still increasing among 55-74 year olds, the growth is slowing and there are still more than three million people aged 55 and over who have never used the internet. 

The charity’s latest State of Ageing report finds that, while eight in ten people aged 65 and over now have internet access, only six in ten have the skills to be able to access the internet independently.

Victoria Johnson, Social Impact Director at BT Group, said: “While we know that the pandemic resulted in many older people using online devices for the first time, it’s sadly the case that there are still many who, for various reasons, aren’t online. It’s really important we try to change this and give those people who are reluctant, or those who lack confidence, the skills to get online. 

“Experts tell us that the best approach to helping older people gain confidence and improve their online skills is through tailored, one-to-one support delivered among peers. What better way to do this than over a cuppa in a great venue.”

The sessions – created in partnership with AbilityNet – will offer a range of options, from a quick drop-in to ask specific questions, to more detailed 30 minute and 90 minute sessions. 

Sarah Brain, Free Services Manager at AbilityNet, said: “Our volunteers and trainers at AbilityNet are really excited to take part in the BTea room sessions.   As a charity we support older people every day with their tech, and know how important support and training is so people can thrive in our ever more digital world.  

“What better way to get some help on your mobile, tablet or laptop than over a cuppa and a slice of cake, with experts on hand to guide you.”  

■ The sessions will take place at Frieda’s Tearoom (7 Stafford Rd, Bournemouth, BH1 1JH) from 9am until 5:30pm over two days on Wednesday 18th and Thursday 19th October

■ Interested in attending? Find out more by phoning 01202 281333 or go to www.bt.com/btearooms