As Covid-19 made digital the norm for communicating, banking and shopping, over 1.8 million older people were effectively cut off. They struggled to access medical services, couldn't order online deliveries of food or medicine and couldn't reach out to others for support. They were unheard and unseen; unable to ask questions or challenge the decisions which were affecting them; unable to participate.
The problem of digital exclusion is worst for our older people:
- Around 5 million over 55s are currently offline.
- In February 2020, just before lockdown, ONS data recorded that 20% of over 65s didn't have an internet connection at home.
- Just before Covid-19 lockdown began, 35% of 60 - 70 years olds couldn't switch on a computer and connect to the Internet, and only 28% of over 75s could make a video call or shop online independently.
Older people have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19 and are much more likely to have been left behind by the huge digitalisation of services and culture in the past 12 months.
This grant is for delivery partners (with previous experience and expertise in working with older people) to each support 45 older people directly to learn new digital skills that will allow them to communicate online, and then offer further regular support via online group sessions (for example Zoom clubs). The aim of this is to reduce digital exclusion, loneliness and isolation for older people.