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Digital inclusion

Older gentleman using a tablet.

Published on 06 March 2024 03:24 PM

Digital inclusion is a pressing matter for older people in the 21st Century. Particularly when key services are digitising. Banks are one example of how services are going online. According to Josh Wilson, writing for Which? 5,835 bank branches have closed since January 2015, at a rate of around 54 per month.

Another reason why digital inclusion is important for older people is the lack of knowledge that many older people have with technology. In 2023, Age UK published a report on older people and internet use. They found that almost 6 million people aged 65+ are unable to use the internet safely or aren’t online at all. With the increasing reliance on technology, in addition to an ageing population, a lot of older people are at risk of becoming digitally excluded.

This is particularly pertinent because of the high number of older people in the UK that are socially isolated anyway. Age UK, in another study, reported that more than 2 million people in England aged 75+ live alone. More than a million older people go over a month without speaking to anyone.

That’s a lot of isolated people.



We cannot have a society where we do not try to help isolated older people; it needs to be addressed. Fortunately, organisations now seek to meet the above challenges, ourselves included.

One way that organisations support older adults in becoming more digitally included is through education and training programmes. These programmes can help them learn how to use smartphones, tablets, computers, and other devices, as well as navigate the internet and social media. By providing them with the skills and knowledge they need, older adults can stay connected with loved ones, access important information and safely participate in online activities.

In addition to education and training, it is important to ensure that older adults have access to affordable and user-friendly technology. This may involve providing them with discounted devices, internet service, or tech support services. Furthermore, designing websites and apps with older users in mind, such as incorporating larger fonts and simple navigation, can help make the digital experience more inclusive for them.

Finally, fostering a sense of community and support among older adults can also contribute to their digital empowerment. Creating opportunities for them to connect with others, such as through online forums or virtual social groups, can help reduce feelings of isolation and encourage them to explore and engage with technology more confidently.

By empowering older people through digital support and inclusion, we can help them stay connected, informed, and engaged in today's increasingly digital world. This not only benefits them individually but also enriches our society as a whole by tapping into the wisdom and experiences of older generations.



With this in mind, we are delighted to announce a partnership with IT Company Systems and Smiles. Systems and Smiles “want to harness the power of IT for the continuous advancement of people, society, and the world”.

Their values match ours; after all, we are for the advancement of older people in Manchester.

Together, we aim to reach as many older people as possible. And by including older people in the changing digital landscape, we can reduce digital isolation.

Partnerships between the private sector and charities can be mutually beneficial for both parties.

For the private sector it can boost staff morale and engagement. It can also be an opportunity for mutual learning with distinct skills of each organisation being shared. For the charity, they can expand their services or offer by partnering with an organisation that has access to resources and staff.

With this combination of differing expertise and shared morals, we think this partnership will be very beneficial to our service users.



The start of the partnership will centre around online workshops for older people. However, as the partnership progresses, we expect to expand what we can offer.

The next workshop will centre around digital security. It will cover how to browse safely, how to avoid scams and protecting devices from viruses. The sessions will provide older people with the opportunity to learn valuable digital skills such as how to navigate the internet, use social media, and stay safe online. The aim is to help older people feel more confident and connected in the digital world, as well as reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness.

The sessions will be held online and will be led by experienced digital support volunteers from Age Systems and Smiles. We are committed to making the online learning environment encouraging, inclusive and fun.

If someone you know could benefit from these free digital support sessions, please get in touch to find out more information and to book a place. We look forward to helping older people in Manchester to feel more confident and connected in the digital world. If they’re ready to go they can sign up here: