Old folk novices learn computer skills

Litz director and tutor Nick Tills gives Sadiq Masih Bhatti a hand. Fellow student Lydia Barker is working on the computer alongside

Litz director and tutor Nick Tills gives Sadiq Masih Bhatti a hand. Fellow student Lydia Barker is working on the computer alongside

First published in News

TWENTY-five years after the internet was created, it is easy to think that everyone knows their tweets from their direct messages.

But many do not and now a course has been set up to teach those who need a little help.

Many people over 60 who have not had time in their busy lives to learn about downloading and Facebook are getting to grips with the finer points of modern technology at a new computing course in Blackbird Leys.

According to the Office for National Statistics, 42 per cent of pensioners use email and 32 per cent use the web to buy things.

Now The Leys Information Technology Zone (Litz) is holding a six-week course for the many people across Oxford who do not.

Those on the course have spent much of their lives watching the world become more and more dominated by computers. Now they are learning the basics and improving their IT skills.

Among those attending is Lydia Barker. She said: “Everything these days seems to come through on the computer.

“All my bills, my bank, everything wants me to pay online. I feel like I’m being compelled to learn.”

While Mrs Barker, 78, has a computer, she does not know how to use it. She said: “It’s just there. I have tried before, but I gave up.

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“But I’m determined to get into it and stop annoying my son by getting him to do everything for me.”

Mrs Barker, from Headington, said she wished there was an IT centre nearer to her home.

“I’m not only person coming here from Headington,” she said. “I don’t know why there isn’t one there. They should have more things like this. There are too many cuts and everything is stopping. It’s difficult to get out of the house and fill up your days.”

Fellow student Joyce Hulbert said: “I wanted to learn about computers to give me another interest.

“All my family have got one and I’m the odd one out.”

The 77-year-old said she was already getting the hang of it.

“This is my first week,” she said. ”I found it okay. I think I’ll pick it up pretty quickly. I want to join my grandkids on Facebook.”

This is the first time Litz has run the course.

Director of Litz and tutor Nick Tills, from Blackbird Leys, said: “It’s great fun. They’re a lovely bunch.

Mr Tills, 52, is teaching mouse and keyboard skills as well as how to use Windows, Microsoft Word and internet search engines.

He said: “I hope that they will be comfortable using a computer and won’t feel afraid any more. It’s all about demystifying technology.”

To find out more, call 01865 714492, call into the Blitz IT Hub, at the Community Centre in Blackbird Leys Road, or email blitzithub@yahoo.co.uk

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