Residents at Oakwood Park, a retirement estate in Forest Row, East Sussex, are embracing technology thanks to a series of digital training sessions organised by Ballard & Shortall, a leading, local family funeral directors. The company is also donating iPads for communal use by residents to ensure they are connected with technology and accessing the many benefits it can bring.
Ballard & Shortall, a CPJ Field family owned company, has organised training for Oakwood Park in digital skills including the use of e-mail, Skype, online shopping and social media networks such as Facebook. The aim is to keep residents connected with friends and family via the internet as well as helping to retain their independence. The scheme is part of CPJ Field’s Community Companions programme, which supports retired people in living life to the full through regular social interaction, wellbeing, fitness and improved technology skills.
The digital training is being run due to popular demand at Oakwood Park, following investment by CPJ Field in a film club and gardening equipment at the estate last year. Residents have been actively involved in shaping the training programme with a consultation undertaken to kick-start the course and ensure that relevant topics are covered. Popular subjects include understanding how to purchase presents for family members rather then giving them cash and how to Skype to keep in regular contact with grandchildren.
Penny Blanchard, Estate Manager for Oakwood Park, comments: “The digital training programme has created a lot of interest among residents who are enthusiastic about getting to grips with technology or who are polishing up the IT skills they already have and many have been eager to take part. Residents are interested in all areas of technology, from learning how to use new applications to supporting their pastimes, such as one keen writer who is interested in typing up their ideas. We’re delighted to be collaborating with Ballard & Shortall on this project and are very grateful for their donation of two iPads for the residents’ use.”
Pippa Yates, from Ballard & Shortall, Forest Row, comments: “We’ve had a great response to the training and residents are really enjoying the new skills they are learning, with many already putting iPads on their Christmas wish lists.
“We’ve worked closely with Oakwood Park over the years and it’s great to see so many people taking advantage of this latest project. By providing companionship and support through free activities and the provision of the latest technology we hope to help combat social exclusion and increase personal independence for the senior residents in all our local communities.”