Bristol Residents celebrate Silver Surfers' day

Charlotte Leslie, MP for Bristol North West, joined over 100 people who descended upon a Housing 21 sheltered housing scheme in Bristol as part of Silver Surfers’ Day last week. John James Court in Lockleaze held the event to support the national campaign promoting the use of digital technologies by older people.

The event provided an opportunity for people to find out more about using computers, getting online and surfing the net as well as other digital technologies such as mobile phones, iPads, iPods, Wii games, ebooks, blue ray, digital photo frames and much more.

John James Court is one of twelve Housing 21 schemes to be successful in achieving funding through Get Digital. The initiative enables older people living in sheltered housing to benefit from communal facilities to access the internet and computer training.

Commenting on Get Digital, Charlotte Leslie, MP said:

“For so many of our elderly who are isolated and often lonely, digital communication can be life-changing – but getting into IT can be intimidating at all ages so this scheme is so valuable in helping the older generation access the digital world.”

Lorraine Jenner, area housing services manager for Housing 21 said:

“It was a very exciting day. We had people of varying abilities attending. Some got a taster of modern technology for the first time and other more experienced users were on hand to demonstrate a wide range of features from spell-checking through to Skype. The Get Digital programme has helped to reduce isolation and has put residents in touch with a lot more people. In fact some of the residents have become so enthused by their new skills that they have invested in their own laptops.”     

Geek Squad agents from the new Best Buy store in Bristol were on hand to provide support throughout the day. Geek Squad Agent Terence Rowles and Carphone Warehouse Geek Squad Agent Martin Evans helped residents and visitors with different levels of confidence feel more at ease with technology, including people who’d never used a keyboard before. However, some attendees already owned gadgets such as tablets and asked the Geek Squad more hard-hitting questions such as defragmenting hard drives!

Ivor, a resident of Housing 21, who took part in the day commented:

“The Agents were very helpful and took their time showing me how the iPad works.  I can’t keep up with all the new technology so I enjoyed the demonstration. I hope they come again.”

Agent Evans from the Best Buy store said:

“It was great to spend time with people who wanted to talk about their tech gremlins and see what gadgets can do to make their lives feel more connected - whether using Skype or shopping on the internet. It was really just about seeing tech as a way to have more fun and bring people closer. Although I couldn't believe how tech savvy some of the visitors already were!”

Grace Wild, age 94 added:

“I feel like Alice in Wonderland; I have gone through the keyhole and stepped into a whole new world, where everything is amazing. I can go around the world on Google Earth, visit my family and friends on Skype - the world is my oyster.”

Transport to the event for the residents of five other Housing 21 sheltered schemes in Bristol was provided free of charge by The University of the West of England.

Listen to the BBC Bristol radio interview with 2 of the attendees. Courtesy of BBC Bristol
   Please note this file opens with Window Media Player.


Editor’s notes

  1. For further information or high res versions of any of the photos, please contact Wendy Gornicki, PR & Information Officer, Housing 21 on 0370 192 4338 or email
  2. Housing 21’s mission is to promote independence and choice for older people through quality care, health and housing services. It provides around 126,000 hours of community care each week and manages 17,800 sheltered and extra care apartments.