Tenants of a Bield retirement home in Livingston have partnered with local high school students to stay ‘up-to-the-minute’ with the latest technology.
For the second year running, Sixth Form pupils at Deans Community High School have been teaching tenants of Bield’s Pentland View Court various IT skills in order to open them up to the new digital world.
On Friday afternoons pupils at the school have been taking the short walk to the retirement housing development, situated under half a mile away, to teach tenants how to use the development’s iPads.
Sandra McShane, Development Manager at Pentland View Court, said: “Tenants have loved being able to improve their IT skills and we have become very modern-focused here at Pentland View Court.
“There was a variety of reasons behind every individual’s desire to be online; some people wanted to set up and send emails, others wanted to shop online, play games, understand and use social media or simply learn to use search engines and reminisce over what they could find.
“What’s really brilliant is that many of the tenants have enjoyed using the iPad’s so much that they have been inspired to purchase their own and they can now tutor each other.”
Funding for the Fit2Gether scheme was awarded by Bield after an application was sent to their Tenancy Sustainment team following a brainstorm by staff at Pentland View Court on new and exciting activities.
With four iPads purchased and wifi installed at the development, the initiative is aimed at empowering tenants and giving them the confidence to use modern day technology as a means of keeping in touch with friends and family.
Sandra added: “The thing to remember is that these 16 and 17 year olds have been giving up their free time to come in and spend time with the tenants who live here.
“Some of the tenants and teens have really gelled and we’ve had many come back and visit us, even after they have left school, so it’s created a bit of a legacy here at Pentland View Court.
“We have always had a close link with Deans Community High School and pupils have come in regularly over the years to do a variety of activities.”
The Fit2Gether venture runs alongside Bield’s ‘Free to Be’ ethos, which lets those who use their services make their own choices about how they live their lives while being there to support them when they need it.
Bob Gray, a teacher at Deans Community High school, said: “The scheme is really beneficial for our pupils. From a skills and experience point of view it has been an added positive experience which our pupils can add to their CV and university application forms, which is great.
“It’s also been a real eye-opener for our pupils, all of whom have grown up technology literate and so to meet and teach older people who are completely new to the digital world has been something completely new and different for them.”
Bield is a registered charity that came from humble beginnings, starting out with just one development in Bo’ness to become a major of a wide range of housing and services for around 20,000 older people across 23 local authority areas.