Learning Together – Smartphones

A beginner-friendly introduction to using a smartphone

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

What would you like to do or learn?

Think of this as a consultation exercise

There are many ways for you to tell us what you want. Would you like to try our online consultation form? It’s very easy — but if you have never done one before, please come to the next Wednesday afternoon drop-in and get some help.

Here is the link to the form — tap or click on it » Course Consultation «

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.


When and where

  • 4 Monday afternoons – 9, 16, 23 & 30 January, 2 to 4 pm.
  • Mildmay Community Centre, N6 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 will be essential

  • We are not ready yet to accept sign-ups. We have to finish our consultation exercise first.
  • This will be a sign-up first event, not a drop-in. That means we must know who you are before you come — and we must be able to contact you with further information before and during the course.
  • We have training smartphones for maximum 12 people.

See also page: Learning – courses and workshops

How to be safe on the internet

Learn to use the Internet safely and sensibly

Enjoy all the advantages of being online – avoid the risks

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

NB: The course list is now full – we have reached our maximum 12 learners

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.


When and where

  • 4 Friday afternoons – 2, 9, 16 and 23 December, 2 to 4 pm.
  • Whitmore Community Centre, N1 5NU (location info below).

Who is this for?

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

Advance sign up is essential

NB: The course list is now full – we have reached our maximum 12 learners

  • This is a sign-up first event, not a drop-in. That means we must know who you are before you come — and we must be able to contact you with further information before and during the course.
  • We have space for maximum 12 people.
  • You can sign up in person at Mildmay Community Centre on Wednesday afternoon.
  • Or send an email to learning@50pd.uk or a text message to 07423 162019 — then wait for a reply that confirms your attendance.

Where is Whitmore Community Centre?


See also page: Learning – courses and workshops

How to be Smart with a Phone

Everything you always wanted to do with a smartphone

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

NB: this course has finished.

Plus quite a lot you didn’t know you could do

Think of this as a general-purpose smartphone course where we tackle the needs and interests of everyone in the group — and introduce creative new ideas for you to do or think about.

On your phone learning menu — choose from

  • Privacy and security (because so many people have justified concerns)
  • Music and radio
  • Maps and travel
  • YouTube and other video (including making it)
  • World-Wide Web
  • Photos
  • Podcasts and other audio (including making it)
  • Health and fitness
  • BBC
  • Languages
  • Plants, trees & bird identification
  • Reporting problems to your local authority
  • Documents, slides and spreadsheets (including making them)
  • WhatsApp
  • Your suggestions …

See also page: Learning – courses and workshops

Email on your phone or tablet

Get on top of email

Friday 28 October

NB: this workshop has finished.

Improve your life in one afternoon

Email is arguably the most important internet technology, because it’s the key that opens the door to everything else that you might need – including all transactions – shopping, health, utilities, work, education, local & national government – and all social media.

Email has been with us for a long time – but it was never intended for a small screen. Although the app designers have done their best, most older people struggle with phone-sized email.

At the workshop we will unpick your experiences — whatever they are — and find solutions – so you can go home at least one rung further up the email ladder, hopefully feeling better about yourself.


See also page: Learning – courses and workshops

How to search the World-Wide Web on your phone or tablet

Find information about the cost of living crisis and how to survive it

21 October 2022

NB: this workshop has finished.

It’s not always easy on a small screen

The primary content of the World-Wide Web is information, advice, opportunities, inspiration, contact and communication — for everyday life as well as education and business. This workshop is about how you can actively search for what you need.

We will start with basic beginner-level web search, and then progress as time allows. We suggest a focus on the cost of living because it is a major concern now, but we can follow up any topic that interests the group.

Search engines have become very sophisticated — but sometimes quite challenging on a small screen. Formulating a good search query requires practice and a basic understanding of how search engines work.

Try these five cost of living search queries in the Google search engine —

Different results of course, but are they the results you would need for your search on cost of living information? If you put the same searches into other search engines (eg: Bing, DuckDuckGo) you might notice even greater differences.

If you use a small screen, you probably want to keep web search as simple as possible, and you might like to feel that you are in control — and perhaps you would appreciate results that are genuinely useful, accurate and unbiased. This workshop will help you get there.


See also page: Learning – courses and workshops

The 50-Plus Databank

Free internet connectivity for eligible older people

Updated 25 October 2022

The National Databank scheme will supply us with free SIM cards with mobile data for eligible recipients, up to one year. In their own words …

The National Databank provides free mobile data, texts and calls to people in need … Think of it like a food bank but for internet connectivity data.

Our databank for people aged 50 or better

Are you eligible for a free mobile data plan?

You should be living on a low income, eg: receiving a means-tested benefit (Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Pension Credit, Universal Credit) — and you need mobile data for internet connection — and you meet at least one of the following criteria …

  • You have no access or insufficient access to the internet at home,
  • you have no or insufficient access to the internet when away from
    home,
  • you cannot afford your existing monthly contract or top up.

You will need a phone that you already know how to use, or that you are learning to use on a course for older beginners.

Your phone should be unlocked (or compatible with the databank SIM card).


The free mobile data plans

O2 data

  • A plan with 20 GB mobile data, plus unlimited calls and text messages.
  • The plan will refresh when you respond to a monthly text message.
  • The plan will expire after six months, but can be renewed for a further six months if you need it.

Three data

  • A plan with 24 GB mobile data, plus unlimited calls and text messages.
  • The 24 GB data is a total – it does not refresh monthly.

How does it work in practice?

If you are eligible …

  • A staff member or authorised volunteer will put the SIM card in your phone.
  • After you have signed for the SIM card, we will register it with the national databank and then activate it.

Our primary base will be the Wednesday afternoon drop-in at Mildmay Community Centre, but we think we can arrange to meet databank recipients at other places in this area of London.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I keep my existing phone number?
  2. May I refer a friend?
    • Yes, of course.
  3. I have a long-term contract that I cannot afford. Am I eligible?
    • Not while you still have the long-term contract. Please check the termination fee before you consider cancellation.
    • However, O2 have indicated that they will consider individual cases where an O2 contract might be replaced by a databank O2 plan. We would contact O2 on your behalf.

What next?

If you think you are eligible or you need more information, contact us by email or phone …

… or (best) come to the next Wednesday afternoon drop-in at Mildmay Community Centre — details on page 50pd.uk/#support

How to manage photos on your phone or tablet

Move your photos from your device to somewhere else

14 October 2022

NB: this workshop has finished.

Easy solutions to a hard problem

This workshop will tackle one of the most common problems for people who take photographs on a smartphone or tablet — what to do when the device is full — and anyway, how to manage hundreds, or even thousands, of photos.

There are many solutions for people who are not professional photographers. We will look at the easy solutions first because there is almost certainly one for you.


See also page: Learning – courses and workshops

50-Plus Databank – free SIM cards for older people

50-Plus Digital has joined the National Databank scheme

The National Databank

You can read about this scheme at the main website – goodthingsfoundation.org/databank

In their own words …

“The National Databank provides free mobile data, texts and calls to people in need … Think of it like a food bank but for internet connectivity data.”

Our local 50-Plus Databank

The scheme has started. You can read about it on page The 50-Plus Databank.

Financially-related digital support afternoons – 10 & 17 August 2022

Wednesday 10 August

NB: these events have finished.

This was the first of two urgent sessions for older people who need help to apply for Council tax energy rebate or Pension Credit and cost of living payment — before it is too late to claim.

35 people turned up — most needing this extra support — so we were very busy. Even with nine helpers (including the industrious CSR team from Methods), we had not quite finished, so we will carry on next week.

We didn’t have time to make photos.

Return of the volunteer teams – Methods – 13 July 2022

Volunteer teams from city firms have always – for least 12 years – been the most popular attraction at the digital drop-in. Then the pandemic stopped all CSR events – even before the first lockdown.

So we were delighted to welcome our first team for three years, from Methods — who provided effective 1:1 help for at least 15 older people — and incidentally reduced the pressure on our regular peer support team, so the total number helped was more than 30.