Advice NI’s Rights4Seniors programme successfully bridges the digital divide


Through its Rights4Seniors digital training programme, Advice NI, a leading rights-based charity, has established a successful method for enabling older people, particularly those who are vulnerable, to navigate and use the Internet with confidence.
Advice NI recently launched two reports evaluating its Rights4Seniors digital work funded by the Money Advice Service and The Big Lottery Fund, to a packed audience, at Titanic Belfast.

Aware that those in later life risk finding themselves on the wrong side of the digital divide, Advice NI has delivered its Rights4Seniors digital training programme to over 600 older people living in 49 Radius Housing schemes across Northern Ireland.

The 10-week training programme, delivered by a team of highly skilled volunteers, also includes a benefit entitlement, which over the past 5 years has recovered over £777,000 of unclaimed monies for older people.

In a world where government and banking services are increasingly becoming ‘digital first’ and many face-to-face services closing, older people have embraced the opportunity to learn.

One participant commented,
‘I heard everyone talking about ‘asking Google’ and I wanted to be able to ask too!’

while another said, for her “a really useful” aspect of the training was learning to use price comparison websites. She had subsequently approached her electricity provider and negotiated a discount,
‘I didn’t get as much as I thought I would because I was an existing customer, but the thing was that I felt confident enough to argue my case… any information like this is brilliant’.

Bob Stronge, Advice NI Chief Executive, stated,
‘Our Rights4Seniors digital work began 10 years ago when we developed our award winning Advantage training programme aimed at advisors who are advising and supporting older people. This inspired the development of our Rights4seniors and POP NI websites which last year attracted over 116,000 users.’


Speaking at the launch, the Commissioner for Older People, Eddie Lynch highlighted the shocking statistic that 70% of older people do not have access or skills to use the internet and said:
“Older people are not confident enough to use the internet that’s why programmes like those delivered by Advice NI are so important.”

The event finished with Eileen Patterson, Radius Director of Communities, highlighting the vital work delivered through the Advice NI and Radius Housing partnership to assist and support older people to go online with confidence.

Graduation certificates were presented to many of the 740 participants who had taken part in the programme over the past 5 years.




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Notes:
  • Contact information: Please contact Advice NI on 02890 645919
  • Advice NI www.adviceni.net
Notes:
  1. Advice NI is the umbrella body for the independent advice network in Northern Ireland and has approximately 60 Members across NI who provide advice on debt, benefits, housing to name a few. Advice NI members deal with almost 262,854 enquiries per year, with the majority being social security benefits and debt related.
  2. If you would like to find out more visit our websites www.adviceni.net, www.popni.net, www.rights4seniors.net
  3. Reports: https://www.adviceni.net/sites/default/files/publications/adni_sae_report_0.pdf
    https://www.adviceni.net/sites/default/files/publications/adni_mas_report.pdf