Tipperary Age Friendly are working with Family Resource Centres and Community Groups in Tipperary to address digital poverty and support older adults in becoming confident and competent in the use of technology.
We commenced with pilot sites across the county with a mix of urban and rural and focus on areas of high older adult population. The pilot sites included St Pauls Community Centre Clogheen, Age Friendly Roscrea, Successful Ageing Thurles, Knockanrawley Community Resource Centre Tipperary, Millennium Family Resource Centre Glengoole, Place4U in Clonmel and individuals supported through North Tipperary Development Company.
The initial pilot sites was funded from a partnership of Tipperary County Council, Tipperary Public Participation Network, South Tipperary Development Company and North Tipperary Development Company. The pilot locations were provided with devices within the project. Since the initial pilot sites rollout other groups have been supported to apply for funding to achieve devices and we now have additional locations with community groups in Kilsheelan Active Retirement, Templemore Active Retirement, Carers Association in Clonmel, Nano Nagle Community Resource Centre in Carrick on Suir, North Tipperary IFA Portroe group and we will work with 2 nursing homes in the County and Aras Mhuire Day Care Centre in Nenagh when this reopens.
The Digital Connections scheme success is the model on how we are operating. Within each pilot site the host organisation identifies a champion. The host organisation is provided with 5 devices whether that is directly or supported to achieve funding to provide same. The champion with each organisation is responsible within each pilot site to support the 4 older adults to get confident and competent in using the device.
The champions meet every 6 to 8 weeks in a virtual capacity with Tipperary County Council, Tipperary ETB, Acorn the device provider and Generation Tech who are a team of volunteers who will support older adults over the phone in using devices. This champion network looks at how we can support the older adults, challenges that we face, any technical issues faced and what training and supports are required.
Tipperary ETB have committed to providing training to each group when restrictions enable this to take place. Tipperary Library services are also partners will also support in terms of training but also in terms of content and will engage online in relation to programs that they provide. An Garda Síochána will also engage on the project through their community gardai as a point of contact with the older adults in their community, this will be piloted by Garda Maureen Finnerty, based in the Nenagh Garda District. Tipperary Sports Partnership have already run a program targeting those engaged with the devices and to the wider older adult cohort to engage in physical activity. The HSE will provide programs like Living Well Programme and other supports to the older adults engaged in our host organisations. This will build over time as we establish the interests and needs of the individuals engaged on the devices. Tipperary County Council are developing an Age Friendly Calendar. This calendar will reflect content of interest to the older audience from a cultural, educational, physical activity and health perspective.
We are working with Cliffrum Media and Acorn in relation to notifications to the devices to provide details on the calendar of activities and that will also enable the host organisations issue messages to their device holders.
The Age Friendly Calendar links can be found on www.tipperarycoco.ie and https://www.whatsonintipp.ie/ so that older adults not engaged in the scheme can still engage with the content. If you have content that you would like to add to this calendar please email email@example.com
If your community group are interested in being part of Tipperary Digital Connections scheme, whether purchasing your own devices directly or supported to achieve funding to deliver same complete the Expression of Interest Form and return to firstname.lastname@example.org . If you would like any additional information in relation to the scheme please also email email@example.com and Fiona, Angela or Cliona will revert to you in relation to same
Some of the Tipperary participants took part in a recording (link below) and review of the Acorn Devices and the report Digital Solutions for Marginalised Communities is attached