Dagenham charity provides tech training to more than 100 elderly people in the borough

Eddie Cook, 73, is one of those who has undertaken the tech training offered by The Disablement Asso

Eddie Cook, 73, is one of those who has undertaken the tech training offered by The Disablement Association for Barking and Dagenham (DABD) during lockdown. Picture: DABD - Credit: Archant

A Dagenham charity has tackled lockdown isolation by providing IT training to more than 100 elderly people in the borough.

The Disablement Association for Barking and Dagenham (DABD) supports individuals to live as independently as possible, believing strongly that everyone should have this opportunity, no matter their circumstance.

For this initiative, it has enlisted people from its Golden Years Club to become more tech-savvy, and expects to have trained 100 by the end of the month.

It has also launched a tablet library so that those without devices can stay connected during the pandemic.

Chief executive of DABD, Elaine James, said: “In our increasingly digital world it’s important that people of all ages have basic technical skills, and never more so than now. Younger generations have grown up with technology but this isn’t true for everyone.


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“Sometimes basic, but now essential, tasks such as ordering shopping online, having a virtual GP appointment, or even a video call with family can be confusing.”

One beneficiary of the scheme is 73-year-old Eddie Cook, who has learned a range of new skills thanks to the training.

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He said: “I’m currently learning how to use video conferencing, and managed to have a virtual dental and GP appointment last week. It’s not something I ever thought I would have to do but I’m really proud of myself.

“I even managed to do a video call with my friend from the Golden Years Club the other day to wish him a happy birthday. He was so happy and it really cheered us up.”

Eddie was clear that while there is no substitute for human interaction, technology affords him “the next best thing”, adding that he’s excited to have a video call with his sister in Australia soon.

With the tablet library currently only having 12 devices to loan out, DABD encourages donations, and would particularly love to hear from people who could offer IT and tech training.

Summarising the situation perfectly, Eddie said: “Life is like one very long Sunday at the moment and being able to see people on my tablet brightens up my day.”

For more information, visit dabd.org.uk or call 020 8592 8603.

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