Why it’s time to pull down the generational barriers

PUBLISHED: 07:15 21 March 2018

Older computer users are getting tips from the students of Norwich's Jane Austen College.

Older computer users are getting tips from the students of Norwich's Jane Austen College.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

Young and old needn’t live on different planets, says Pete Kelley.

I was thinking about bubbles… how we all live in them. It’s hard to avoid. How it’s good to get out occasionally.

Busting through bubbles isn’t always easy, but improving mutual understanding seems to be key to sorting out a lot of things, right now.

Maybe one of the big divides - and I’ve talked about this before - is inter-generational.

The young and the old sometimes look at each other as if they lived on different planets. Though, ironically, in our experience, when they get talking, they find they have a lot in common… not least because teenagers and the elderly can, at times, feel they’re ignored by the generation in between.

That’s not a bad place to start.

The ‘our’ I mentioned there is Age UK Norwich, the city-based charity working with the elderly which I support. And in recent years we’ve increasingly been tackling the needs of our older citizens by working with the young… from primary school age upwards, including a good many UEA and City College students who’ve come on board.

Everyone enjoys the relationships formed.

We’ll be doing a fun Bobble Hat Day later in the year. Any school not yet involved which would like to be, please call our fundraising manager Emma Roper on 01603 496333 to learn more.

But in the meantime - in a great bit of synergy - youngsters from the city’s Jane Austen College have agreed to help older people understand their computers.

Come along to Café Pure in St George’s Street, Norwich on Wednesday afternoons between 3.30pm and 5pm. Bring your device - be it tablet, laptop of smart phone - if it’s portable enough. But if not, come anyway. Have a relaxed chat over a cuppa with the students about things you’d like to understand, or new things you’d like to learn to do digitally… perhaps email, perhaps sending pictures.

Recently, a gentleman popped along asking for advice about broadband speed, as his was slow at home. The students showed him how to check, and also explore other providers.

I’m told the students are also keen to help people trace family trees online, if that’s your interest.

Just come along, or call community outreach manager Charlotte Kippin on 01603 496333.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that an older person in possession of a computer must be in want of a teenager’s advice.

See what I did there?

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