TIM DREW: Technology tea parties help the elderly get online

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LAST week, Neighbourhood Watch and Sussex Police took part in the EE National Techy Tea Party at EE’s two stores in Montague Street, Worthing, which was aimed at providing assistance to elderly people in the use of tablets and smart phones.

Police public engagement officer Shaun Polley and the Neighbourhood Police Team’s Sergeant Mandy Symes spoke to those attending about scams, fraud and online safety, with Terry Rickards and Peter Brookshaw distributing crime prevention material and Neighbourhood Watch Information. Techy Tea Parties are informal events where the ‘tech-savvy’ help those who want to learn more about technology and build their confidence and digital skills.

The events last two hours and, at EE, tea and biscuits are served. Attendees are encouraged to bring their phones, laptops, tablets and equipment, and EE also recommends that advisers bring along any devices they have, for demonstration purposes.

The event was devised by EE in partnership with Age UK, Tetley, Samsung and Asda, but can be replicated – for example, by residents’ associations – and EE has provided advice on its website as how to organise and promote a Techy Tea Party. It is estimated that some 4.8 million adults over the age of 65 have never been online, and events such as these are of vital importance in giving such people the opportunity to use the internet to keep in contact with their families, and to engage with the community. With sufficient support and advice, they will become more confident.

If they live alone, their enhanced knowledge will erode their sense of loneliness, and they will, therefore, be less likely to fall prey to swindlers who primarily target the elderly and vulnerable.

• Two surgeries will take place this week. The first will be hosted by PCSO Carol Fulcher and will be held at Goring Library, in Mulberry Lane, Goring, between 4pm and 4.45pm, on Tuesday, September 23. The second, hosted by PCSO Ben Cruise, will be at at West Worthing Baptist Church, in South Street, Tarring from 11am to mid-day, on Thursday, September 25.