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).

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.

50-Plus Databank – free SIM cards for older people

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

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

Think of it like a food bank but for internet connectivity data – a free SIM card with a free mobile data plan.

Our local 50-Plus Databank

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

Cost of Living for older people

Cost of Living. An older woman using a bank ATM, with a slightly apprehensive expression.

Cost of Living Information Event

NB: this event has finished.

Find out where and how to get help with energy bills, food, benefits and mobile phone data

Why

The aim of this event is to provide you with information and practical support on four priority areas affected by the cost of living crisis: money, energy, food and staying connected.

  • Encourage you to claim pension credit if you are eligible
  • Help you practically to access other sources of financial support where those sources require referral by a professional, or where digital support with online forms is required.
  • To provide information about where and how you can access free or subsidised food and data connectivity.
  • To reassure you that help with energy/utility bills is available if you are struggling, and where you can go for advice if you need it.

What

  • We will start at 10:15 am with short presentations on each of the focus areas: energy, food, staying connected and money
  • This will be followed by 15 mins Q&A or open floor discussion.
  • Then you can collect a handout pack, get a cup of tea or coffee, and circulate between the tables to talk to staff, ask questions, request referrals etc.
  • We will finish at 12 pm.
  • There will be lunch for people staying on for the Digital Drop-in that starts at 1pm.

When

  • Wednesday morning 21 September, 10:15 am to 12 noonbefore the afternoon Digital Dropin.

Where

  • Mildmay Community Centre,
    Woodville Rd,
    N16 8NA
  • Transport information, map and other details at 50pd.uk/#support

Who

  • If you are 50 or better, this is for you – wherever you live.

Organised by MRS – Independent Living

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.

Pension Credit and the cost of living payment

Notes on applying for Pension Credit

Updated 18 August 2022

These notes and links are for learners and volunteers at our Wednesday afternoon Mildmay Community Centre drop-in.

By the way – we cannot provide financial advice of any kind; it’s not what we do.

The 18 August 2022 deadline

  • The deadline for the full £650 Cost of Living payment was Thursday 18 August 2022.
  • To get the full £650, you must have qualified for Pension Credit between 26 April and 25 May 2022.
  • But Pension Credit applications can be backdated for three months so 18 August 2022 was the final cut-off date to start a claim for the Cost of Living payment.

If you live with someone else

  • If you live with someone else, even if that person is not your partner — you must provide information about benefits that person receives.

Pension Credit Calculator

Links for Pension Credit and Cost of Living Payment

Goverment links

Video


Are you looking for information about the Council Tax Energy Rebate? Visit our blog post Council tax energy rebate

Council tax energy rebate

Notes on applying for the energy rebate

Updated 14 November 2022

These notes and links are for learners and volunteers at our Wednesday afternoon Mildmay Community Centre drop-in.

Important to understand – the rebate is not a grant from your borough council. It is a payment from central government, administered by the council in their own way.

By the way – we cannot provide financial advice of any kind; it’s not what we do.

Links for the energy rebate

If you pay Council Tax by direct debit

If you pay your Council Tax by direct debit you should have have received your rebate already — you don’t need the support offered on this page.

If you do NOT pay Council Tax by direct debit

You should apply to your local authority as soon as possible.

Deadlines

If you receive Council Tax Reduction
  • Bands A to D your deadline was 14 November 2022.
  • Bands E to H your deadline was 14 November 2022.
If you do NOT receive Council Tax Reduction
  • Bands A to D your deadline was 31 August 2022.
  • Bands E to H you are not eligible for the rebate.

A. Find your property reference number

  1. Visit the government web page gov.uk/council-tax-bands
  2. Click / tap on the button labelled Start now — then follow the instructions. This does not take long, but it is not easy for digital beginners. If you are stuck, please ask a helper.
  3. Eventually, you will land on a page that shows your property reference number (write it down now) — and also (if you were not sure) confirmation of your local authority and Council Tax band.

B. Do you have an email address you can use effectively?

Possession of an email address is not always enough. Ask yourself these questions …

  • Do you know your correct email address?
  • Can you open your email on the device you use most often? Or – if you don’t have a device of your own – can you open your email on one of our training laptops or tablets?

If your answer to those questions is no, you should probably apply for your rebate by phone (the numbers to call are on this page below).

If your answer is don’t know or not sure, please ask a helper to send you an email so you can check before you do anything else.

By the way – should we tell the council our email address?
  • Yes — if you are totally confident that you are able — in all circumstances, now and in the future — to read, act on, and reply to email sent by the council. At least one nearby council will stop sending you conventional letters if you give them an email address.

C. Do you know your bank account details?

  • You will need your account number and sort code.

D. Register with GrantApproval.co.uk

This step is difficult for digital beginners, but required for online applications. You will need …

  • Your Council Tax account number.
  • Your property reference number.
  • A phone number.
  • An email address.
  • A password for grantapproval.co.uk (please write it down as soon as you have made it).
  • To register, visit web page grantapproval.co.uk
  • Follow the instructions.
  • When you have finished at grantapproval.co.uk, remember to log out.

Are you looking for information about Pension Credit and/or the Cost of Living payment? Visit our blog post Pension Credit and the cost of living payment