Technology advances at such a pace that it’s easy to feel left behind. This is exacerbated for the older generation for whom many feel they have simply missed the boat entirely. For all its faults technology is however a positive and life-enhancing tool that can fight off isolation and help people feel connected and engaged with support networks, family and friends. It is this wonderful power that’s being captured by Chichester Community Development Trust’s Internet Café where hands on IT advice is provided free of charge to ensure ALL can enjoy the riches of being ‘connected’.
Held twice a week at the Community Hall in Roussillon Park, the café provides a friendly environment where people of all ages can come to enjoy company, coffee and for those who would like it – some invaluable advice on technology. Run by Derek Hedicker, with years of experience in commerce, the café helps to break down the fear factor many feel when considering investing in IT.
“It’s about explaining slowly and succinctly so anybody can understand the technology, and how it can open up their world to video calls with family, easier banking and online shopping amongst other applications,” said Derek. “By offering one-to-one advice I can gain an understanding of people’s capabilities. By taking everything at the right pace we can completely break down the fear barrier. For many of our older customers the instant reaction is that all younger people get this and they’ve been left behind… they think it’s the cutting edge of technology and beyond them…. It simply isn’t true, with the right help even a total novice can be surfing safely and happily within the day! There’s a whole world of information available, it’s like having a vast library at your finger tips.”
The community feel within the group is such that longer term visitors are now taking on the role of mentors to newcomers – a perfect, nurturing environment for friendship and enabling all visitors to learn. The environment is entirely informal and those who simply want company can simply enjoy the companionship of others. Furthermore younger visitors are encouraged to visit – particularly those working on their own, as they too can benefit from Derek’s many years of commercial success.
When asked how they have found the experience, those who attend are unanimous in their approval – “I’ve enjoyed this club as Derek has helped me so much with my laptop over the years. Had it not been for these classes, I would have been lost. I also enjoy coming and meeting the other people” said Brian. Kathy added: “I so enjoy coming to the computer club since I bought a new laptop and I have been helped with so many things from social media to internet shopping”
It’s all about reaching out to those who simply need a little help. Technology is daunting for so many. “We’re here to help them see it as an enabler, not something to be nervous of. We provide advice on what hardware would be the best to buy for each individual’s needs, such as a tablet, smartphone or laptop. We can then take them through setting it up and then inform them what applications would be most beneficial for them. For the more experienced, younger visitors we can help them to streamline work practices or simply upgrade software or hardware to improve the way they work.”
The CCDT Internet Café takes place every Tuesday (2:00-3:30pm) in the Community Hall at Roussillon Park and Friday (3:30 – 5.00pm) at The Lodge in Graylingwell Park. To find out more visit our What’s on page.