50-Plus Device Bank – free smartphones for older people

50-Plus Digital has joined the National Device Bank scheme

The National Device Bank

You can read about the national scheme at the main website – goodthingsfoundation.org/national-device-bank

Our local 50-Plus Device Bank – a preview

We have already received a batch of refurbished smartphones — to be gifted to people in need.

They are all the same model — Galaxy XCover 4s — robust business phones in excellent condition — ideal for people whose primary IT needs are not recreational.

We are setting them up to be suitable for older people who might be relative digital beginners, prioritising accessibility, usability, privacy and security. Initially they will resemble the devices you use on our smartphone training courses. Of course, you can do whatever you like with them afterwards, and you may expect continued support at our weekly digital drop-in.

More information coming soon …

Frequently-Asked Questions

Q1: When can I get one, and how?

A1: We will start distributing to eligible people next week. For further details — keep in touch with us.

Q2: Does where I live affect my eligibiliity?

A2: For the smartphone scheme, you should be a resident of any London borough.

Cost of Living event (25 Jan) at Mildmay CC

NB: this event has finished.

Mildmay Community Centre will be open as usual Wednesday afternoon 25 January – but not for the Digital Drop-in.

Instead there will be an all-day Cost of Living event in the main hall – to which you are invited, of course. For more information, please visit page Cost of Living Event at The Mildmay.

50+ Digital is not involved in event arrangements, so there won’t be a normal digital drop-in — but the 50+ Data Bank will be open in the café area from 1:30 to 3 pm.

11 January 2023 – Multigenerational at Mildmay

A young woman wearing a HausOfShee top and a much older African-Caribbean man. They are examining the contents of a SIM card pack.

Social and digital inclusion in practice

Sheena Adae-Amoakoh – owner of local hair stylist HausOfShee – brought friends Akela and Whitney to help at the Digital Drop-in, 11 January 2023. Photos by Elliot Jones – based at Point Two Studio.

These classy young volunteers are local entrepreneurs. Your grandchildren might know them.


Tap or click on any photo in the gallery to see a larger version, or start a slide-show (if you are not quite sure how to do that, please ask a helper).

Elliot made a lot more photos. They are all very good, but we can’t publish them all here. However – if you are in one of Elliot’s photos, we will make sure you get a copy – in your email (you might need practice opening and saving photo attachments).


This session reminded us of the Pre-Pandemic Era, when we hosted more than 700 corporate volunteers via Benefacto from 2014 until the COVID era. Those volunteers were all really impressive – and made a huge, and memorable, impact. We are trying to think of ways to restore that level of comitment.


Update 18 January

We are sending the photos to you by email (because downloading and managing photos is a useful digital skill).

Daniel liked his so much, he got it printed – apparently for less than £1.

9 January 2023 – our new space for groupwork

We have moved our Friday afternoon courses and workshops to Monday afternoons in the main hall at Mildmay Community Centre – the same large space we use for the Wednesday afternoon drop-in – not the small café area we occupied last year.

As we expected, the move was an immediate success. The currrent course – Exploring the web with smartphones – was guaranteed to be full because we were able to arrange an alternative activity for the course waiting list. As it happened, everyone on the waiting list joined the course.

Right now, we have 14 training smartphones – 12 for learners, 1 for the projector, 1 contingency. We think we can double the size of smartphone courses as we learn the best way to utilise the main hall, perhaps as soon as February.

Exploring the web with smartphones

A beginner-friendly introduction course

4 Monday afternoons — 9, 16, 23 & 30 January, 2 to 4 pm — at Mildmay Community Centre.

NB: this course has started and is full.

About the course

A step-by-step practical guide to finding incredibly useful things to do on the World Wide Web – and how to do them on a phone – safely and sensibly.

As always, you will start with your priorities and ambitions – and you will finish with important digital skills that perhaps you didn’t know existed.

Just as important – you will be more confident in your own ability to keep exploring and learning.

Online safety first …

For your personal security – you will not use your own device, your own email address or your own phone number as part of the course.

Everyone will use our safety-first smartphones – set up for older people who don’t have a lot of internet experience – so we can all focus together on what is really important.

You are welcome to bring your own device if you want to – but we cannot offer 1:1 help with it as part of the course.


When and where

  • 4 Monday afternoons – 9, 16, 23 & 30 January, 2 to 4 pm.
  • Mildmay Community Centre, N16 8NA

Who is this for?

  • If you are an occasional internet user – wanting to learn more – but perhaps not totally confident about what you are doing – this is for you!
  • But probably not if you need 1:1 help.
  • If you are uncertain, or have a question – please email to learning@50pd.uk

Advance sign up

NB: this course has started and is full.

  • This is a sign-up first course, not a drop-in. That means it’s preferable to know who you are before you come — and we must be able to contact you with further information during the course.
  • We have training smartphones for maximum 13 people.
  • 13 people have signed up. The course is full.

Where is Mildmay Community Centre?

  • All the information you need – address, travel directions and map – are on the home page of this website – https://50pd.uk/#location

See also page: Learning – courses and workshops

50+ Digital 2023

Happy New Year 2023! Welcome Back!

Our hopes and aspirations for this year

50+ Digital Drop-in

  • Every Wednesday afternoon, 1-4 pm — at Mildmay Community Centre.
  • Open and free for all older people — bring your own device, or use our laptops — two secure wifi networks in a warm, vibrant community atmosphere — and a very experienced volunteer team.
  • Arrive early (12:30 pm) for the Community Centre’s free Winter Warmer lunch.
  • More detail on the Home page.

Courses and workshops

  • Monday afternoons, 2-4 pm — at Mildmay Community Centre.
  • Advance signup required for most of these learning activities — but you can occupy the unused space for quiet drop-in.
  • More detail on the Learning page.

50+ Data Bank

  • Free mobile data, texts and calls to people in need … think of it like a ‘food bank’ but for internet connectivity data.
  • More detail on the Data Bank page.

50+ Device Bank

  • We are not quite ready to launch this new sub-project — we have to wait until mid-January for that.
  • Free internet-enabled devices … think of it like a ‘food bank’ but for refurbished laptops and smartphones.
  • More detail coming soon.

Multi-generational volunteers

  • It’s still difficult to attract the attention of large city firms – so we are contacting small local enterprises that might have much more to offer.
  • Done! – two local startups joined us at the 11 January Digital Drop-in. They are Point Two (photo studio) and Haus of Shee (hair stylists).

How to join 50+ Digital

  • Just come!
  • We are close to good transport links.
  • You don’t need a referral letter.
  • We are interested in who you are, not where you live.

How to be safe on the internet

How to be safe on the internet

Learn to use the Internet safely and sensibly

A beginner-friendly course at Whitmore Community Centre, Friday afternoons in December 2022

NB: this course has finished.

Enjoy all the advantages of being online – avoid the risks

You are an internet citizen now, so wouldn’t it be nice to spend your online time in those parts of the internet where there are no risks, no exploitation, no deceit?

It’s easily done, because that is still most of the internet. It’s still about contact and communication with friends, family and people you could never have met in any other way — inhabited by optimists who are expanding their horizons and learning more about the real world that they return to safely when they switch off their device.

Join our course, and use our safe smartphones to explore and understand how the internet works – for you.

Online safety first

This is about your safety concerns, not about devices. For your personal security – you will not use your own device, your own email address or your own phone number as part of the course.

Everyone will use our safety-first smartphones – set up for older people who don’t have a lot of internet experience – so we can all focus together on what is really important.

You are welcome to bring your own device if you want to – but we cannot offer 1:1 help with it. That’s because we don’t have time to help individuals when there are 11 other people on the course. This approach always works best for everybody.

Venue: Whitmore Community Centre


See also page: Learning – courses and workshops

The Perception Census

Do you see what I see?

A really interesting online research project that needs your help and participation.


A message from Jane Wells (Collective Act)

We (Collective Act) are based at Hackney Downs Studios, and we recently launched The Perception Census – a new scientific study into the unique ways we each experience the world around us. Led by world-leading academics Professor of Neuroscience Anil Seth from the University of Sussex and Professor of Philosophy Fiona Macpherson from the University of Glasgow.

The online survey is made up of fun interactive tasks exploring how participants perceive colour, music, time, illusion and more.

By taking part, participants will learn about their own powers of perception while helping our team of scientists and philosophers uncover why, and how, we all experience the world in unique ways.

The Perception Census is made up of 10 topics. Each section takes approx. 20 minutes to complete, and we recommend starting with The Fundamentals of Perception. To begin, participants need to create an account and navigate through the prompts on screen.

You might have seen an article by our Lead Scientist on the Perception Census, Anil Seth: The big idea: do we all experience the world in the same way? I think this gives a great bit of additional framing for the project.

A focus group for older people

I have been thinking about our engagement of people over 60 and have got approval to run a focus group. I am looking to recruit a small group of over 60s. The focus group discussion will happen online and everyone will be paid £25 for their participation

I have more information and a place where people can register their interest in participating here: Perception Census Over-60s Focus Group.

We hope the Focus Group session will be an open and dynamic discussion where everyone is welcome, regardless of background, experience, ability, or expertise.

Ahead of the discussion, please visit the Perception Census landing page

  • have a look over this landing page
  • sign-up to start the Perception Census
  • complete the first section, Fundamentals of Perception

Our discussion will focus on how accessible the website and the task are, and the language we are using to describe it. You may find it helpful to make notes as you move through the visitor journey.

We are offering a £25 voucher (Amazon, Sainsburys or Tesco) or £25 paid via invoice to every participant as reimbursement for taking the time to participate in the task and the focus group. We will confirm details of this after the session.

People are also welcome to email me directly with any questions or to register their interest – jane.wells@collectiveact.co.uk 


NB from 50+ Digital

About the Perception Census

  • This is what the internet is for — but you can’t do it on a phone or tablet.
  • You could do it on one of our drop-in laptops — if you bring your own headphones.