Aberdeen-based charity, Silver City Surfers teamed up with CityFibre, the UK’s third digital infrastructure platform, to deliver a new series of digital training sessions to sheltered housing residents.

Silver City Surfers supports the over 55s to navigate their way around technology, which has taken on a new level of importance for people during the coronavirus outbreak. The charity works with people of all abilities, from those who can’t switch on a computer to tech-savvy grandparents who wish to remain at the forefront of digital developments.

The specially-designed sessions, which aim to ensure nobody is left disconnected, are usually held at locations across Aberdeen but this latest partnership has enabled the charity to go directly to elderly residents in the comfort of their own home, prior to the lockdown.

During these unprecedented times, digital inclusiveness is a top priority as we rely on technology to stay connected. Despite the face-to-face sessions having to be put on hold for now, Silver City Surfers remains committed to serving the needs of their learners and so they are currently providing support via video calls and telephone. They have also been able to identify learners who are in need of routers and other equipment to enable them to communicate with loved ones, providing much comfort.

CityFibre is currently transforming Aberdeen into one of the best digitally connected cities in the world as part of a £40m investment and a strategic partnership with launch ISP partner, Vodafone. This forms part of CityFibre’s £4bn Gigabit City Investment Programme, targeting the rollout of wholesale full fibre infrastructure to up to eight million homes and businesses across more than 60 towns and cities.

CityFibre’s state-of-the-art digital infrastructure will reach almost every home and business across Aberdeen by approximately the end of 2021. The programme has already delivered gigabit capable connectivity in several areas, including Kincorth, Northfield and Ferryhill. Amongst the next areas to benefit include Bridge of Don, Cove and Airyhall.

Allan McEwan, CityFibre’s City Manager for Aberdeen, said: “Silver City Surfers plays a vital role in helping to ensure digital inclusion across the city – a key driver in us partnering up with this fantastic charity. Not only have their weekly digital sessions and monthly Tech Talks previously provided an opportunity for people to develop their skills and knowledge in a social environment, but they are now tackling how they continue their services amidst these unprecedented times which will be providing a lifeline to many I am sure.

“We have thoroughly enjoyed engaging with the charity and their learners, with many already aware of how our network will transform the lives of those who visit, work and live in our city. We look forward to engaging with the group further and seeing how they develop as our reliance upon digital connectivity increases further.”

Louise Farmer, Chair of the Management Committee at Silver City Surfers, added: “Construction of CityFibre’s full fibre network is vital in terms of the city’s digital advancement, allowing residents and businesses to enjoy a fast, reliable connection to the digital world; but it’s so important that everyone is able to maximise these benefits and feel comfortable using the technology.

“The support of organisations like CityFibre is crucial to helping us ensure digital and social inclusion for mature members of the community. Over the last year, our partnership has allowed us to reach more people than ever before by taking our programme directly into sheltered housing facilities to train those who would otherwise struggle to attend our sessions.”

 

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