Norfolk Fact sheet. Computing for Older People. Number 7. Last updated: June 2015

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1 Norfolk Fact sheet Number 7 Computing for Older People Last updated: June 2015 guarantee. Registered in England Registered Charity No:

2 Contents Q s & A s: Do I have to have previous knowledge about computers to go on a course? page 3 What kinds of courses are available? page 3 Are there any computer courses available just for older people? page 3 How much will I pay? page 3 Where can I go to use a computer once I ve learnt how to use one - if I don t want to buy a computer of my own? page 4 How can I find out about local computer courses? page 5 Is it possible to arrange courses for older people s clubs and groups to take place in their own venues, local community centres, etc. or even in people s own homes? page 7 Useful websites page 8 Useful publications page 10 For details of all Age UK Fact sheets, go to page 2

3 Q s & A s: Do I have to have previous knowledge about computers to go on a course? No, there is a wide range of very basic beginners courses available throughout Norfolk. No previous knowledge about computers is required - you don t even need to know how to type. What kinds of courses are available? Courses range from taster sessions where complete beginners can try out a range of computing activities and gain a basic understanding of how to operate a computer. More specific beginners courses that concentrate on one particular area of computing are also available. For example, ing and the Internet, word-processing, desktop publishing or researching the past - looking at your family tree and tracing your ancestors! Are there any computer courses available just for older people? Yes, if you would prefer to learn alongside other older people, there are a number of specialised courses available for older people throughout the County. Large screens are also available at some venues for those with sight problems. How much will I pay? Some courses are completely free, others may offer concessionary rates for those in receipt of benefits. page 3

4 Where can I go to use a computer once I ve learnt how to use one - if I don t want to buy a computer of my own? Many centres are available to give people access to computers, for example: The People s Network: This scheme started as a national project to give high speed access to the web for everyone, delivered by England s public libraries, managed by the Museums, Libraries & Archives Council and supported by lottery funding. For information about online services from Public Libraries, go to Norfolk Library and Information Service: Through the use of computers, software and online sites, libraries in Norfolk can help you to communicate, research, learn and have fun. For information, go to Library Services section. Every library in Norfolk offers: Free internet access (including free web-based services) Free internet and IT taster sessions Access to online help and online subscriptions via our information service - our selection of quality information sites Computers with Microsoft Office (word processing, spreadsheets and presentations) Computers with multi-card reader, DVD burner and USB ports Supernova screen magnification and screen reader software Photo-editing software Colour printing (A4 only in some libraries) Resource centres, day centres and luncheon clubs: Some have set up local computer access points. Keep an eye out in your local council magazine or newsletters for details of computer learning centres in your area. page 4

5 How can I find out about local computer courses? The following organisations can provide details of a range of computer courses: Norfolk County Council Adult Education Service: If you wish to learn some basic skills, check out Learn My Way go to There is a package of free courses on their ONLINE PLUS service designed to make sure you are confident with everything you might need to do on the internet. Your local library may also offer basic IT skills through taster sessions and Surf s Up sessions for people over 60 wishing to learn about using the internet. These sessions offer training and support for older people to search the web, use , shop and stay safe online. They help them to become computer literate and to enjoy the benefits of digital technology. No previous knowledge is needed and there is no upper age limit. For information about course dates, contact your local library or you can call (general enquiries) for this information. College of West Anglia: Based in King s Lynn, the College of West Anglia offers a range of part-time courses. For information, call on or, for details of Adult Learning Courses, go to (where there is an online enquiry form). Great Yarmouth College: Offers a variety of IT courses. For information, call on or go to their website page 5

6 UK onlinecentres: These centres are a network of community internet access points which provide people with free or low-cost access to computers and the internet, together with help and advice on how to use them. Join their Older People network to receive a number of benefits including access to free courses for learners including Using a tablet, Staying safe online and also includes support from your own network co-ordinator. To find out details of your nearest UK online centre and their free and low cost computer courses, call their helpline on or use their online centre search, go to and enter a local place name. LearnDirect: LearnDirect is an e-teaching organisation which provides online courses covering a range of subjects and operates a network of learning centres. The LearnDirect Advice Service provides information, advice and guidance to support adults in making appropriate decisions on a full range of learning opportunities. You don t need any previous experience. Their friendly staff is there to help you out. To find out about their local courses and centres in Norfolk call on l or go to A text relay service is available for learners who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired. Go ON UK: This is a cross-sector digital skills charity which provides information about basic digital and online skills. They have created a digital skills web platform which hosts a wide range of tools, ideas and resources to assist volunteers in helping others to take their first steps online. The site also includes a new video Guide to the Internet which has been produced by Gransnet. For information, go to or call on page 6

7 Is it possible to arrange courses for older people s clubs and groups to take place in their own venues, local community centres etc. or even in people s own homes? Yes, some organisations work with local groups to arrange courses in places that are most accessible and convenient. These could include village halls, community centres, clubs and groups, day centres and residential homes. Depending on the size of your group it may be possible to arrange courses in people s own homes. The following organisations take computer-training sessions out to groups and clubs: The College of West Anglia: Offer free computer training sessions for clubs and groups, day centres and sheltered housing and residential homes. (See contact details on page 5) Digital Unite (DU): Digital Unite specialise in supporting older people to use digital technologies, from the internet and to social networking and blogs. It has a network of tutors across Great Britain who offer one-to-one tuition for a fee.they can help you to learn new digital skills; set up training schemes for your community; teach older users. Free learning guides are available online which are PDF files which you can view or print. For information, go to (where there is an online enquiry form) or call on page 7

8 Useful Websites: AbilityNet: This is a national charity helping disabled people use computers and the Internet by adapting and adjusting their technology which has IT advice centres around Great Britain. Free factsheets are available call their Advice and Information Service on Age UK: They help you to get the most out of your computer with their online guides which include A-Z online computing and Making the most of the internet. BBC Webwise: Find out how to develop the essential online skills to make the most your mobile, tablet or computer. BBC My Web My Way: This site provides accessibility help, enabling computer users to make the most of the internet whatever their ability or disability. Get Safe Online: This is a joint initiative between Government law enforcement, leading businesses and the public sector. Their aim is to provide computer users with free, independent, user-friendly advice to enable people to use the internet safely and securely. GCF Learn Free: Online courses covering technology, online literacy and maths skills. Courses are interactive and supported with articles and videos. Good50: A google powered search engine, customised to be more readable and userfriendly with larger text and optional high-contrast settings. Automatically displays search results with Safe Search on. page 8

9 Useful Websites (cont): Meganga: Offers computer lessons for older people, beginners and computer novices. Microsoft Accessibility: Includes tips for older people on how to change screen settings to make the computer easier to use. My Ageing Parent: Includes a section and a video of the best websites to help older people get online. Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB): This website includes a page on Making computers accessible with information about keyboard shortcuts and improving the way you use the internet. There is a series of information sheets about technology for blind and partially-sighted people and online Beginners Guides (including to computers, laptops and tablets) For information, or to find out about their free technology support service, call their helpline on or (or complete an online enquiry form). Silversurfers: This is an informative lifestyle and social network site for everyone over 50. page 9

10 Useful Publications: Age UK: Their information guide Internet Security staying safe online (IL4) can be downloaded at or call for a hard copy on BT: The Internet: It s easier than you think : This leaflet helps you to steer your way around the Internet it is included in their useful downloads page of inclusive communications at or call for a copy on their customer helpline The information contained in this fact sheet is, as far as we know, correct at time of publishing. If you know of any courses or learning centres or organisations that we have missed, please let us know as this fact sheet will be updated regularly. page 10

11 Age UK Norfolk has been in existence since 1947 The mission of the charity is To promote the well being of all older people throughout the county of Norfolk and to help make later life a fulfilling and enjoyable experience. Age UK Norfolk Head Office 300 St Faith s Road Old Catton Norwich NR6 7BJ Telephone: page 11

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