Digital eagles land to conquer technophobia

Barclays Digital Eagle Liam Senior shows Abbeyfield House residents in Alnwick that technology such as iPads can be easy to use and fun during International Older People's Day.
Barclays Digital Eagle Liam Senior shows Abbeyfield House residents in Alnwick that technology such as iPads can be easy to use and fun during International Older People's Day.

Digital eagles swooped on older people in sheltered housing in Alnwick to help them get to grips with modern technology.

A Tea and Teach event was held at Abbeyfield House, on South Road, as part of International Older People’s Day.

Barclays Digital Eagles volunteers landed to help residents build their confidence in using technology such as iPads and laptops and showing them how technology can help them connect with faraway friends and family.

The highlight of the session was a live Skype link-up with an Abbeyfield house in Durham, Canada, showing that technology can be the next best thing to being there in person.

Residents, volunteers and staff from surrounding Abbeyfield homes in Warkworth and Bamburgh travelled to the company’s Alnwick hub to take part in celebrations.

Resident Jose Saunders particularly enjoyed chatting to new friends in Canada via Skype.

She said: “I told them about living in Abbeyfield at Alnwick and asked what it was like in Canada. It was very good.”

Abbeyfield Alnwick house manager Joanna Clark said: “As a charity providing care for older people across the world, Tea and Teach was a lovely way to embrace this day of celebration and recognition for older people. Technology is a wonderful thing and makes keeping in touch with family or friends who live further away easier and is very cost effective too.

“Many of us are wary about using new technology – especially older people who haven’t grown up in a digital world. They have a perception it is just for young people.

“Here at Abbeyfield, we don’t want older people to miss out on keeping in touch with their loved ones, yet many do because of a fear of technology.

“Tea and Teach and Barclays Digital Eagles was a wonderful first step in overcoming these barriers to older people embracing technology. Everybody enjoyed the session. We are certainly going to keep in touch with Abbeyfield Durham by Skype so residents at both houses can become digital pen-pals.”

The Alnwick Tea and Teach event was one of 250 Barclays Digital Eagles sessions taking place across the country on International Older People’s Day in Barclays branches for customers and non-customers.

Free technology advice sessions were held at 80 Abbeyfield houses and homes across the UK, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. Elaine Draper, director of accessibility and inclusion at Barclays, said: “International Older People’s Day is a wonderful celebration. Here at Barclays we recognise the emotional impact that a changing environment has on the older generation in your local area, especially when it comes to new technology and innovation.

“It is our ambition to become the bank of choice for older people and whether you are 10 or 110, we are committed to leaving no one behind in this digital revolution. We hope through our tailored products and Digital Eagles initiative we can help give people more control and build their confidence to make their lives easier”.