Computer Tutor Volunteers Wanted

Filed in Recent News by August 8, 2019

By Taylah Fellows

SCONE neighbourhood resource centre is getting senior citizens over the age of fifty online every Wednesday morning from 9:30-10:30.

The Be Connected Program is a federal initiative aimed at getting elderly Australians up and running online with confidence.

Lee Watts, manager at the Scone Neighbourhood Resource Centre, is running the tutorial lessons and said the program helps seniors access the internet and maintain their social connections.

“What I’m trying to do here is provide free lessons for anyone over 50 because the government wants everybody to get online to do things like pay taxes, pay driver infringements and set up medicare,” said Ms Watts. 

“You can access the Be Connected Program online but the good thing about coming in here is you get one-on-one time and we can tailor the program to whatever your needs are,” she said.

Be Connected tutorials include ‘e-safety’ courses to teach people how to protect themselves online.

“There are a few people who want to learn how to be safe and how to work privacy settings and even if they have Facebook they don’t use it because of those concerns,” said Ms Watts.

New computer wiz, Chris Dyson with Tutor Maddee Phelps

Chris Dyson has been attending the tutorials since they started 9 weeks ago and said the program has informed her which sites to go on and which cites to steer clear from. 

“I’ve got sites to go on and not to go on and now I can navigate things like online banking and MyGov, which is really good,” said Ms Dyson.

“Keeping in touch with family from overseas was the main reason to start…might as well go with it and not against it,” she said. 

Other attendees like Geoff Pund are starting from scratch.

“I’ve got to try and learn how to use a computer, I’ve never used one before and I’m a 66-year-old,” said Mr Pund.

“The reason I did this was that I was asked to help out my local club charity,” he said.

“Talking on the phone, that’s my way of contact so when they said to me ‘well send you an email’ I thought, what’s an email?” said Mr Pund.

Lee Watts said more than 30 people have come through the program and more volunteer tutors are needed.

“If we get 94 people through, the government will grant us $5,000 to buy new devices,” said Lee Watts.

Tutors like Maddee Phelps have been volunteering for the program since the beginning.

“Lee asked me to help people learn how to use computers and technology because I was already doing it at the library, helping anybody that came in and asked,” said Ms Phelps.

“I want to be a teacher one day so I enjoy helping people learn new things that I think are easy being 20 years old and having used these things for half of my life,” she said.

“Having people say ‘oh wow this is actually really easy’ makes it really rewarding,” said Ms Phelps.

Lee Watts encourages anyone over 50 to come through to the tutorial sessions which are open and ongoing.

“It doesn’t matter what kind of device you have, iPad, laptop or phone, they can bring their own along or use one of ours provided here,” said Ms Watts.

  • When: Every Wednesday morning from 9:30am-10: 30 am (excluding Wednesday, August 21st)
  • Where: Scone Neighbourhood Resource Centre, 130 Liverpool St, Scone

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