Digital Seniors arrives at Masterton Library. From left, Alison Burns, coach Rachel Mackenzie, Richard Jackson, coach Elroy Dalefield, and business solutions manager John Craig. PHOTO/ELI HILL
The Digital Seniors initiative has arrived at Masterton Library.
Launched in August last year by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and operating in seven other hubs around Wairarapa, the initiative is picking up speed and has 189 seniors registered.
The service will be available in the library each Wednesday from 10am to midday, with volunteer coaches helping seniors, some of whom are in their 90s, to better understand and operate their digital devices.
Business solutions manager John Craig said most of the people Digital Seniors help out arrive by word of mouth.
“Usually, we’ll start a group off and we’ll struggle to get a response. Last week we had two or three people show up.
“But then if the centres down in South Wairarapa are anything to go by, when the word of mouth gets around there’ll be an explosion. You’ll get six, then nine, then 13 and suddenly you have to work on your coach-to-senior ratio.”
The Digital Senior “hubs” are free of charge, and focused on people over 65, but Craig said they won’t turn away anyone younger who needs help.
As well as asking seniors to come along, Craig called on anyone wanting to help out to think about volunteering as a coach.
“You don’t need specialist experience,” he said. “Anyone adept at operating a smartphone will be able to teach others.”
Digital Seniors also have a free hotline for anyone who needs services at home – 0800 737 646.