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Guide Dogs has partnered with Good Things Foundation, to support older Australians across the Central Coast to gain vital digital skills

By Guide Dogs
Posted: 17 May 2024
Alan Edwards, who has vision loss
Guide Dogs has partnered with Centre For Eye Health and Good Things Foundation to develop a digital skills pilot programme for locals living with low vision

This new initiative is called ‘Get Online, Get Connected,’ and is fully funded by Guide Dogs.  People aged over 55 living with a deterioration in vision can sign up, FREE, to learn new skills to navigate the digital world confidently, independently and safely.

Digital technology has become front and centre in our lives, whether technology is used for a simple phone call, or to connect with friends on social media, or manage our finances. Technology can be convenient and efficient but also frustrating and mysterious, especially if you are experiencing vision problems.

If we take banking as an example, new digital services are changing the way Australian’s make payments, shifting from in-person to online, a trend that has accelerated since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Guide Dogs has made it a priority to support people experiencing vision loss make the most of digital technology and remove the frustrations often associated with learning new skills. Collaborating with Good Things Foundation, Guide Dogs has launched its FREE digital literacy pilot, ‘Get online, Get Connected’ to help people experiencing vision loss with:

  • Using inbuilt accessibility features to make the most of remaining vision
  • Staying in touch with friends
  • Learning how safely do online banking
  • Using apps to make everyday tasks easier

Hear from Alan Edwards, who has vision loss, discuss the significance of technology in his life, Video link: here

“Technology is always challenging.” Says Allan “It is like getting a new pair of glasses. Sometimes you try them on, and when you first try them on, they just feel so uncomfortable. But once you persevere with it, suddenly it just becomes better. The key to success is reaching out, get that support, get that guidance, and challenge yourself.”

Mirné le Roux, General Manager Low Vision, at Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, expresses excitement about the uptake of the program.

"We are excited to see the many registrations coming through for Get Online, Get Connected and we are already receiving great feedback for future programs.” Mirné says.

“Seeing the impact this pilot project is having on individuals once they become more confident with the digital skills they need to stay independent online and reconnect with their community is heartwarming." 

"The feedback we have received is invaluable. It will help us to further co-design training modules and delivery of the program. We are already looking at extending the program.”

During the pilot, participants can attend free unlimited digital skills training sessions until they are confident using their digital devices. Here are just some of the modules on offer:

  • Making your devices easier to use
  • Staying safe online
  • Connecting with others through technology
  • Accessing resources to enhance your everyday life
  • Safer management of passwords and logins

Training sessions are designed to offer choice, making digital learning enjoyable and accessible, with participants joining like-minded peers to discover how to do more with their devices.

Get Online, Get Connected. is designed for people experiencing any level of vision loss. Click here to participate in the free digital skills pilot program. ###

 
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