Going digital to keep up with the times

15 March 2019

Realise Futures helps learners aged 55+ get to grips with computer tablets.

Realise Futures has new computer tablet courses running across the county, with a free tablet given to participants who meet the eligibility criteria. 

The social enterprise, which has been providing community learning in the county for more than 25 years, runs the courses on behalf of Age UK Suffolk from learning centres based in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Lowestoft, Stowmarket and Newmarket. 

The well-established tablet course is delivered to around 100 people a year and gives mature students a solid grounding in how to use a computer tablet. Over 10 weeks, learners are taught how to set up an email account, how to set up and use apps, taking, storing and sending photographs and become competent and confident in using a tablet.

Eligibility for the scheme is that participants are aged 55+. The course is free and includes provision of a computer tablet which people can use throughout the course and keep afterwards with a donation of £25 being made to Age UK Suffolk.

New courses are beginning soon on:

March 22nd at Realise Futures Learning Centre, Bury St Edmunds Library 

March 25th at Stowmarket Scout Centre, Stowmarket 

March 26th at Pemberton House, Curriers Lane, Ipswich

March 27th at Realise Futures Learning Centre, Lowestoft

Realise Futures is one of the highest-performing adult learning providers in the Eastern region, with a success rate for individuals of 94 per cent. 

Deborah Williams, Realise Futures Learning and Development Operations Manager, said:  “It’s great to meet the learners on our computer clubs and to see how their confidence increases as they get online and get to grips with the digital world. The relaxed and unrushed sessions help people to keep in touch with friends and family and to connect and to stay safe in an increasingly online world. And, of course the clubs have an important social aspect, reducing isolation and building friendships which continue between sessions and long after the course has finished.”

Jo Reeder, Head of Fundraising and Marketing at Age UK Suffolk, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Realise Futures on such an important scheme that enables older people in Suffolk to learn new, and often life-changing skills that can directly tackle loneliness and social isolation. The need for this type of training has become so apparent with the ongoing waiting lists for these courses.” 

Realise Futures specialises in supporting people with disabilities and/or disadvantages, and it provides 100+ Ofsted graded Good courses across Suffolk covering maths and English, computers and technology, skills for work, health and wellbeing, and family learning.

Realise Futures has been running the tablet course for the past two years. Participant Eileen Rowe from Stowmarket described the tablet course she is currently on in Stowmarket as excellent. 

She said: “I used a word processor at work 30 years ago, but now it’s all changed. Now I’m retired it’s a challenge keeping up with my grandchildren and technology. But I’ve learned how to use email, and I’ve just received a scan of my first great grandchild, which was so special. My granddaughter lives in Germany and she is expecting her first child.”

Brenda Oldfield, also from Stowmarket, has been on the same course. She said: “I’ve found the course really good and the tutor is wonderful and so patient. I am finding my way around things and I’m particularly glad to have been in touch via email with my family who live abroad. I’d recommend this course to anyone who wants to learn about how to use a tablet as a beginner.”

For more information on these courses, contact 01473 298683 or email fundraising@ageuksuffolk.org