Retirees at Alexandra Lodge learn digital skills to stay connected during lockdown

Churchill Retirement Living’s Alexandra Lodge in Thornbury has run a successful pilot training scheme in recent months to give apartment Owners the skills, support and confidence to use a device such as a mobile, tablet or laptop.

All of the Owners at the Lodge were offered the chance to take part in a pilot digital skills group run by a local charity, CCBED, which specialises in providing training, help and support for the community. They help people learn online skills to keep in touch, access services and facilities and crucially provide a lifeline to those who have become isolated due to Covid-19.

Ten apartment Owners at Alexandra Lodge originally signed up for a group class in the Owners’ Lounge, before Lockdown 2.0 meant the trainer could not visit the owners face to face as planned. However, with a little coaxing, a number of the group agreed to go ahead with the training remotely.  

Lodge Manager Lizzie said: “We’ve had the Owners attending regular weekly telephone 1-2-1 sessions to improve their skills and abilities. Having initially helped them to log onto a Zoom meeting for the first time, the trainer has been able to talk them through a range of activities on their tablets or mobiles. This has included emails, taking and saving photos, setting up contacts and how to use Zoom. Each person had their own wants and needs and we have been able to facilitate this on an individual basis.  None of them have given up and I am so proud of them all!

CCBED’s trainer Sarah Hayler said: “It has been amazing to see what the Owners have managed to achieve and how they have embraced the remote delivery. Without a shadow of a doubt face to face training would have been less challenging, but we have shown that this training can be given remotely at any location which increases accessibility. This is of huge benefit to those who may have disabilities or restrictions that would prevent them from attending a group session, and also in times of lockdown for everyone.”

CCBED are in the process of putting together information packs and talk-through guides for the participants to refer to in case they get stuck or forget anything they have learnt, which will enable them to continue practising in their own time and for the longer term. 

Apartment Owner Rosa Hare commented: “Sarah showed me how to access Zoom, send and delete emails, add and delete contacts alongside using my contacts on Facebook. She showed me how to take and access my photos, send them to others and store them. She also showed me how to use my iPad as an alarm clock!”

Ann Gill, another Owner who took part in the training, added: “Sarah provided us with an absolutely excellent visual guide so we don’t forget how to do the things she taught us. She has been very patient and helpful throughout the course. She is a very good tutor, nothing is too much trouble for her. I have enjoyed this training.”