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Matthews Seeks Funding to Bridge Digital Divide

Date: 3 May 2022

Deputy Steven Matthews, Green TD for Wicklow, has highlighted the importance of technological awareness for older people and welcomed a new digital skills training programme launched by Vodafone Ireland, ALONE and Active Retirement Ireland that will be launched on May 11th in Glendalough. This programme is an idea that he hopes can be replicated by local authorities in conjunction with charitable organisations across the country if the necessary Government funding is provided. Discussing the initiative, Deputy Matthews said:

“Practical IT classes and training programmes can address the digital divide that is experienced by many older people. Learning to use phones, laptops and iPads and to navigate the internet safely are essential skills in 2022.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic and especially during the lockdowns, we saw how the use of the internet and online communication services can have a positive impact on the lives of older people and help to promote active and healthy lifestyles while combatting feelings of isolation and loneliness.

“Vodafone Ireland, ALONE and Active Retirement Ireland have launched a digital skills training programme. An in-person group class will take place on May 11th at 11am in the Brockagh Resource Centre, Glendalough, Co. Wicklow. Anyone who is interested in attending can call Active Retirement Ireland on 1800 20 30 30 or visit their website.

“I fully support initiatives to promote digital literacy and improve the lives of older people and I fully commend the work of ALONE and Active Retirement in conjunction with Vodafone Ireland in providing this service.

“Using this as a starting point, I have written to the Minister of State with responsibility for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler, to ask if her Department would consider resourcing a state funded campaign to improve and maintain digital skills for older people that would be administered by local authorities. This would help to reduce the digital divide and unlock the benefits of the online world for older people,” Deputy Matthews concluded.

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