Digital seniors Hastings Mail

The opening of the cafe made it onto the front page of The Hastings Mail


With young people virtually glued to their smartphones, it’s no wonder their grandparents could be feeling left out – but a new initiative by Heretaunga Seniors will get plenty of older people connected to the world through their new internet café.

The internet café which opened at the end of  January, enables older people to learn about their own electronic devices in a supportive, friendly environment. It has already proven to be very successful.

Centre co-ordinator Marilyn Scott says the internet café is a logical extension of their successful 6-week Digital Seniors courses run at the Willowpark Road North centre.

“We think the internet café will be a hit with seniors in the region, because people can learn at their own pace, one-on-one with our tutors, on their own devices. We had one lady who came along to our Digital Seniors programme and managed to master her iPad so well, she was able to attend the next programme and help others get to grips with theirs!

“The internet café will run on Tuesday afternoons from 1 – 3 pm, so people can come for as long as they choose. It could be an hour, or the full two hours. It’s also a great opportunity to meet new people, and share those experiences over trying to get connected,” she says.

Attendees are able to use Heretaunga Seniors’ wifi facilities, and there is a small charge of $3 for the first hour, or $5 for two full hours, to help cover costs.

The initiative is supported by the Tindall Foundation through Hawke’s Bay Foundation, and Ms Scott says the funding received will go towards paying a programme co-ordinator to set up and staff the internet café.

“We need to pay a skilled tutor and co-ordinator to help our seniors navigate their way through the internet, and we are so grateful to The Tindall Foundation and Hawke’s Bay Foundation for helping make this happen,” says Ms Scott.

“We have had requests from a growing number of seniors in the community to get additional advice and support more regularly for going online. We can also help with advice on the best device for them to buy that suits their needs, so they can experiment and ‘try before they buy’. It’s a great way for seniors to learn new skills that will help them stay connected,” she says.