50-plus Digital at 50pd.uk

Four older people, laughing in a snowstorm at the Whitmore Community Centre garden

Social and digital inclusion in the time of coronavirus

Our real-world inclusion projects for older people are closed until the COVID crisis is over, and we are no longer at risk. Our pandemic program, this website, and this web page are all under construction.

Inclusion in the Real World

We have had a web presence for many years — and we are still here, with a different kind of presence — temporarily, because there is no way we can replicate online the social inclusion of our real-world activities, and we won’t pretend that it is possible.

The closed projects

Here is a description of one of the closed projects —

The Community Drop-in is the latest instance of a model that has been evolving naturally since 2006 — continuously, in different locations, with and without funding. What we do looks like digital inclusion, but the outcomes are all about social inclusion and community cohesion in the world we actually inhabit. That is why we do it, and why it works.

What we have named the IT Drop-in is loosely-knit real-world social network with a physical base. It’s a place where everyone is welcome — and valued for who they have been, as well as who they are now. It is not a managed service. It is entirely asset-based, co-produced, co-designed and owned by the people who use it.

It’s all about the real world. So if we use the word ‘virtual’, we mean something that can be entertaining and educational — but is also ephemeral and artificial.

Online tools

Our criteria for using online tools has not changed — “Does this thing enhance our real world, our real lives and our real relationships?”. If it does, let’s carry on doing it. If not, it has little value — so let’s move on to something else”.

We have lost our physical hubs, and our resources are limited. But we have time, energy and experience that we can deploy for the benefit of other older people who have become disconnected, marginalised or disregarded — starting with our extended network of about 600. Many of them have no way of getting online independently, and have more immediate difficulties to rise above.

Who is this for?

Everyone aged 50 or better, wherever you are. We are in London, UK. Our Finsbury Park base is on the Hackney side of the border with Haringey and a short stroll from Islington. Our drop-in centres were in Hoxton and Finsbury Park, where three boroughs meet.

We have many participants from the neighbouring boroughs and beyond. We are not borough-exclusive. All older people are welcome.

If you are not yet older, and you would like a helper role, we would like to hear from you too — please visit our contact page.

Who set this up?

Two busy real-world IT drop-in projects — both shut down — but even busier — until this is all over.

Social distance is still 2m!

Please don’t share an umbrella in the rain.