Irish in Britain, the national membership network for Irish organisations, hosted the launch of a report by Fréa entitled 'Digital Solutions Programme for Older Irish People in the North of England'.
Digital inclusion has become critically important and much discussed over the last year.
Accessing the internet and using digital devices helps keep friends and families connected and reduces loneliness, particularly during the lockdown. The new report from Fréa shows that while many older Irish people have access to technology devices, serious barriers like anxiety and a lack of understanding remain.
The report illustrates that understanding the needs of older people and providing them with access to meaningful services and recreational activities is essential to long-term digital inclusion. While there has been increasing digital isolation of the age group, the report highlights a passion and desire to become better connected.
Analysing the answers to a survey of 100 older Irish people living in the Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds areas, the report offers a series of recommendations for tackling barriers. These include continued support, tailoring devices to individuals and facilitating creative and relaxed learning environments.
The report will be an essential guide for other Irish organisations working with older people in Britain. Funding for the project was provided by the Irish Government’s Emigrant Support Programme. Fréa brings together three independent charities in the North of England: Irish Community Care Manchester; Irish Community Care (based in Liverpool and delivering services in the North West); and Leeds Irish Health & Homes.