New campaign to get more silver surfers online


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A housing association has launched a campaign to persuade older people to use the internet so they can keep in touch with family and friends.

According to Cartrefi Conwy, going online can also help people to take advantage of money saving opportunities.

The organisation has also set up a My Cartrefi portal so that tenants can access information online quickly.

The Get Connected campaign was officially launched at Cartrefi’s annual Older Persons’ Day at Venue Cymru in Llandudno.

The event was packed with information points and speakers while films celebrating the achievements of Cartrefi Conwy tenants were screened.

Cartrefi Conwy’s Director of Operations, Gwynne Jones, said: “The Get Connected theme of the event is all about what we can do to help tenants get online, the savings that can be made and how they can connect with family and friends through social media platforms.

“We also want-tenants to be able to live independently for as long as possible and we want to celebrate the role of our Independent Living Coordinators who are supporting 632 tenants.

“Our Independent Living team works hard to ensure our tenants are happy and living safely in their own homes. And I know the service we deliver is excellent and I’m sure our tenants agree.”

Among the invited guests was North Wales AM Mark Isherwood, who is also the Welsh Conservative spokesperson for Communities, Europe and North Wales Growth, who described the conference as a “fantastic event”.

He said: “It really is all about tenants and connecting people, giving them choices and promoting independence

“It about being connected with each other as well as the digital world that we all now live in and being connected with their own dreams and ambitions.”

Old Colwyn Independent Living Coordinator (ILC) Ann Windsor works as part of a team of 17 coordinators.

She said: “We provide daily support which allows our tenants to live independently and one of the key areas is providing emotional support by having a chat and listening to tenants.

“I’m also there to share their concerns and answer their queries. This is only a small part of my role but it can play a big part in someone’s life. It makes them feel included and valued.”

Old Colwyn tenants Sheila Jarvis, 86, and Eirwen Alwena Jones, 90, say Cartrefi Conwy’s ILCs provide an invaluable service.

Sheila said: “Ann Windsor plays an important role and we as tenants are grateful to have her. She pops in and checks our alarms and makes sure we are OK.”

Eirwen added: “It’s good and reassuring to have Ann so close.”

Cartrefi Conwy project manager Claire Twamley added: “What we want to do is prevent digital exclusion and help older tenants realise the benefits and savings that being online can bring.

“It can be daunting if you have never used a computer never mind the internet but being online can help people connect to family and friends.”

“With help and some training we can get them online and then the possibilities are endless.”

Llanrwst Cartrefi Conwy tenant and former lollipop and school dinner lady, Phyllis Llewela Parry, 80, said: “I’m going to give computers a go. I thought I was too old but perhaps not.”

One visitor to the Older Persons’ Day event to receive a great deal of attention was three-year-old Newfoundland dog, Midget Gem, who stands an impressive three feet in height.

His handler, Chris Hughes, of “Conwy of Pets as Therapy”, introduced tenants to the pleasure to be had from contact with friendly pets, particularly dogs.

Chris said: “Pets as Therapy go around hospitals, care homes, special schools or anywhere were we can be of benefit by offering a tactile experience that people can enjoy.”

Registered blind and deaf Cerrigydrudion Cartrefi Conwy tenant, Gwilym Jones, 70, and his wife Jane, 61, certainly enjoyed meeting Midget Gem.

Gwilym said: “I’m a former guide dog owner and user. Sadly because of mobility problems with my knees I had to give up having a guide dog which was devastating at the time.

“I do have a rescued Jack Russell for company but it was lovely meeting Midget Gem, What a gorgeous, soft and friendly dog.”

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