A project that has helped more than 200 pensioners in Hartlepool get confident with new technology is to continue for another two years after securing £35,000 in funding.
Project 65 helps to tackle social isolation among the elderly by providing free loans of tablet devices and delivers workshops in how to use social media to stay connected with friends and family or shop online.
Since launching in 2016, 205 people over 65 have been referred to the project.
The average age of clients last year was 84 with users as old as 96.
Project 65 is run by community interest company Incontrol-able in partnership with O2 in Middleton Grange shopping centre and Hartlepool Borough Council.
Michael Slimings director of Incontrol-able, said: “We’re delighted to be delivering Project 65 for a further two years and to be working in partnership with Hartlepool Borough Council, O2 and all stakeholders.
“Project 65 is a free Tablet Loan Service available to any Hartlepool resident aged 65 or over and enables people to access information and advice, as well as opportunities in the local community that reduce social isolation via digital technology.”
They offer one to one support with home appointments if necessary, drop-in sessions and regular themed workshops.
O2 has donated wifi hotspots so people who do not have internet access in their home do not miss out on the project.
Jack Tait, store leader at O2 in Middleton Grange, said: “This is a great project that we feel privileged to be a part of and aid the brilliant work that Incontrol-able have done.
“Our tech gurus are available to provide additional support and share knowledge to benefit people of all ages.”
Jeanette Willis, Head of Strategic Commissioning at Hartlepool Borough Council said: “In this digital age it is vital to provide the right support mechanisms to enable vulnerable people the ability to broaden their horizons and access key information easily.
“This is particularly key to limit social isolation and can often open a window to the world that might ordinarily be a barrier.”
To arrange an appointment call (01429) 401742.