Bellshill pensioners go back to the future

members of the Back to the Future digital inclusion classes are embracing new technology.
members of the Back to the Future digital inclusion classes are embracing new technology.

THE digital age is often associated with sounding the death-knell for traditional conversation, and perhaps with good reason.

However, various groups of older people in Bellshill have embraced the Facebook era whilst re-establishing good old fashioned social networks at community level.

The ‘Back to the Future’ digital inclusion classes, which combine a conventional chin-wag and cup of tea with tutorials on platforms like Skype and Twitter, are set to be featured at a forthcoming open day for older people in the area.

The event from 10am-1pm on Monday in Bellshill Cultural Centre has been arranged through the nationwide Reshaping Care for Older People’s (RCOP) programme and aims to showcase the raft of supports, clubs and services in the area.

These range from local support for people living with dementia to an activity club for older men living alone.

At the event visitors can also find out how they can access support and funding to develop their current activities through the Locality Activity Programme, whose declared aim is to strengthen local communities.

Help will also be provided to get new activities off the ground.

Irene Gibson, from Orbiston Neighbourhood Centre (ONC) on behalf of the Bellshill consortium said: “RCOP aims to give people and community groups resources and backing to develope and contribute to the support and services their community needs.

“There is some excellent work underway in and around Bellshill which has been supported by RCOP funding, such as the digital inclusion classes.

“As opposed to eroding traditional socialising, modern technology is actually the gel that’s bringing older people together.”

In North Lanarkshire RCOP is combining the expertise of the voluntary sector including organisations like Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire and ONC, with partners including NHS Lanarkshire, North Lanarkshire Council and the independent sector.

Representatives of key organisations in the partnership will all be in attendance at the event in Bellshill Cultural Centre with Police Scotland also on hand to present information on how to prevent doorstep crime.

Sandra Mackay, North Lanarkshire RCOP programme manager, said: “Our key goal is to help growing numbers of older people over 65 to continue to live full, positive and independent lives in the community.

“I would commend this event to anyone who has set up a locally based group or is thinking of doing so.”

For more information contact Orbiston Neighbourhood Centre on 01698 573259.