Inclusion Lab

For real older people who do not think digitally

What is Inclusion Lab?

Inclusion Lab is a Friday afternoon Learning Together project until the end of June 2024 — and it’s for you …

  • if you are, or are becoming: economically-active, creatively-active, community-active, or perhaps even an activist
  • if you would like support and guidance towards achieving a real-world goal that is not digital — and that you have already started
  • if you know that you may have to navigate a few digital potholes on the road to your non-digital destination.

What happens on Friday afternoon – so far

A small, flexible group (usually up to 8 people) discovering the potential of the internet to enhance their real world – for their own goals and for the group – and finding new doors waiting to be opened.

So far – the group is almost full – and everyone has a different reason for being in it. Their digital competence varies a lot, but it doesn’t matter – what they have in common is a goal that represents who they are in the real world.

So far – we are pleased that the goals include challenging disadvantage and other words beginning with dis (eg- disability, discrimination).

How to join

Tell us about your real-world goal (or ask a question) in an email to hello@50pd.uk

Then wait for a reply. Because we prepare learning resources for individual participants, we must know that you are coming.


The EdTech project

It’s happening. We expect to have new hardware after Easter. We will replace the very large dropdown projector screen with a portable 43″ screen that can compete with the sunlight in the Mildmay Community Centre hall.

We already have the software we need to support our emphasis on experience, vision and discussion – rather than mere instruction.


What Inclusion Lab is not

Inclusion Lab is …

  • not a drop-in
  • not a course
  • not a repeat of previous ‘employability’ projects
  • not primarily about acquiring new digital skills
  • not something we expect you to do every Friday
  • nothing like the previous Friday afternoon project (Learn My Way).

Friday Learn My Way

Friday afternoon Learn My Way

  • Mildmay Community Centre – September 2023 to January 2024.
  • Learn My Way is an online resource for digital beginners, people learning for the first time, people who want to learn again — and people who might not be beginners, but would like to help others who are.
  • During February 2024, we will integrate the Learn My Way project with Wednesday afternoon Digital Drop-in.

See also page: Learning – courses and workshops

Learn My Way, 24 April 2023

Online learning – in your own way

A workshop for senior citizens at Mildmay Community Centre – Monday 24 April, 2 to 4 pm

NB: this workshop has finished.

Learn My Way is a website of free online learning for beginners, helping you develop digital skills to make the most of the online world.

This is a new version of Learn My Way. It’s obviously intended for people who don’t have much internet experience, but it’s not just for total beginners. We think you would like it — and it’s definitely a good drop-in activity.

So here is the link » https://www.learnmyway.com/ «

About the workshop

Where and when

  • Mildmay Community Centre (main hall).
  • 2 to 4 pm (it’s ok to arrive early – the café area is a nice place to wait).

What you will do and learn

  • It’s a one-off workshop to get you started with Learn My Way.
  • You will register as a learner (for that, you will need an email address that you can access at the workshop).
  • You will understand how to use the Learn My Way modules, and follow your own  progress.
  • And you will definitely learn something new.

How to sign up

  • Signing up in advance is not essential – but if we know you are coming, we will keep your place until 2:05 pm (ie- for five minutes). You can tell us you are coming in an email to learning@50pd.uk
  • Otherwise, it’s first come – first served.

After the workshop

  • You can carry on with Learn My Way whenever you like – anywhere you have internet access.
  • Our Wednesday afternoon drop-in would be a ideal place to continue Learn My Way. You can use our laptops with the community centre wifi, and help from our volunteers.

More information


Workshop organised by MRS – Independent Living (MRS-IL) – Digital Confidence project – 50pd.uk

The 50+ Digital Email Noticeboard

Three older people outdoors, with a park and phone boxes in the background. One of them holds a smartphone so the other two can see the screen. They are all laughing.

This is the best way to keep in touch

The 50+ Digital Email Noticeboard is just a bulk information email …

  • We send the Email Noticeboard regularly, roughly every 10-14 days — if we have some information that we think would interest local older people.
  • Most of it is about what the 50+ Digital project can offer you next.
  • Some of it is about other opportunities or news that seems useful to older people.
  • The Email Noticeboard is GDPR-compliant, BCC from an MRS-IL address. Your email address is never exposed to anyone else. We don’t use data harvesters like MailChimp. We don’t track your inbox actions. We only send it to you if you want it.
  • It’s been more-or-less continuous since 2007.
  • Referrers and professionals are very welcome.

How to get on the list

We have made it as easy as possible. If you don’t receive it already, please fill in our simple web form: Get the 50+ Digital Email Noticeboard.

Apps for work and community

Learn WorkSpace for yourself or a team

A course for adventurous senior citizens at Mildmay Community Centre – Monday afternoons in March 2023

NB: This course has finished.

This is a course about being able to do something useful or essential – apps used by work teams, individual entrepreneurs and creators. You will learn the basics of Google WorkSpace – a package of apps widely used by business and non-profit organisations.

The apps are designed for teams as well as single users – and (like most workplace software now) they all run in the cloud – where you can access them from any location – as well as the computer you are using at home or in an office.

You probably access your personal email in a cloud server. Workplace software extends that kind of access to everything you do at work – vastly increasing productivity – and (a key concept) simplifying immediate collaboration with other people you work with.

This is not new – but if your work experience is not recent, you might not realise how much has changed in the last 10 years. Your tutor has been using this system since 2007, for personal use, community projects, and as a part-time employee of charity MRS – Independent Living (which uses WorkSpace for internal and external processes).

This could be right for you if …

  • You are still in the job market in some way (including self-employment, return to work after retirement, or thinking about it) – or –
  • You are a carer, expecting to resume employment eventually – or –
  • You are interested in digital skills for business, non-profit, volunteering or education – or –
  • You would like to know more about collaborative methods actually used in work places – or –
  • You are a regular user of WorkSpace email such as seniors.org.uk or bold.org.uk – or –
  • You are a regular user of Gmail.com, and would like to start using the other apps available to you.

Course level

  • This is not a highly advanced course – but it is definitely not suitable for digital beginners, or anyone who needs 1:1 help.
  • Main guideline: you should have an email address that you know how to use without help (that’s why sign-up is by email only).

Your privacy – if you join …

  • You will not use your personal email or ID.
  • We will provide temporary WorkSpace accounts with access to all the cloud apps.

What are the Workspace cloud apps?

Below is a list of apps that we will look at during the course. If you have email at seniors.org.uk or bold.org.uk, you already have all the apps. If you use Gmail.com, you have limited personal versions of most of them.

Obviously, you won’t become proficient in all of those apps during a short course. But you will know what they are, and how to get started.


Organised by MRS – Independent Living (MRS-IL) – Digital Confidence project – 50pd.uk

Learning with laptops

How to use our drop-in laptops

A double workshop at Mildmay Community Centre – Monday afternoons in February 2023

NB: this workshop has finished.

How to be a classier laptopper

We have recently acquired more laptop computers, which will help to double the number of people who can learn effectively at the Wednesday afternoon drop-in.

This workshop will help you understand how to use the laptops (new and previous) …

  • to do all the things you have always wanted to do
    • (especially word-processing)
  • as well as some of the things you didn’t know you could do.

We will also investigate the best possible use of the space in the main hall — as we did during the last smartphone course (we discovered that we should project onto the large drop-down screen – and that community centre should upgrade the main hall wifi, which they have done).

One workshop – two afternoons

  • This will be a single workshop, spread out over two sessions.

Organised by MRS – Independent Living (MRS-IL) – Digital Confidence project – 50pd.uk

50-Plus Device Bank – free smartphones for older people

50-Plus Digital has joined the National Device Bank scheme

15 March 2023: we have distributed all the Device Bank smartphones.

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 smartphones

We have already distributed our first batch of refurbished smartphones — gifted to people with low incomes (eg- Universal Credit, Pension Credit, etc).

Not sure if you are eligible? Ask us!

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. With each phone, we provide a SIM card with free mobile data for at least six months.

We have set them up to be suitable for older people who might be relative digital beginners, prioritising accessibility, usability, privacy and security. Initially they 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.

Frequently-Asked Questions

Q1: When can I get one, and how?

A1: Find us at the weekly Digital Drop-in. 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.

Q3: I’m using an old Nokia phone. Will I be able to upgrade my brain to smartphone standard?

A3: You are probably 100% eligible. Most recipients so far had an old Nokia before, and have found that smartphones are actually quite easy to use — and quick access to the internet has made their lives more cheerful.

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.
Whitney, Data Bank SIM card, Walter

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 community-conscious 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 COVID wrecked everything. Those volunteers were all really impressive – and made a huge, and memorable, impact.

We think employers (or HR departments) might be regaining confidence, though no enterprise has replaced Benefacto. But we are ready to help.


Update 18 January

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

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.