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New kiosks help seniors to surf



Pauline Priestley (right), 86, shows May Rush, 102, how to use the internet. 

Forty new internet kiosks have been launched around the country to help older Australians go online.

The computer sites are part of the federal government’s $15 million Broadband for Seniors Initiative.

NEC Australia is managing the project on behalf of the government with the support from the Australian Seniors Computer Club, the University of the Third Age online and Adult Learning Australia.

The Group Manager for NEC Australia, David Cooke said the computer sites are reaching out to all types of older Australians.

“We have kiosks in metropolitan, regional and rural Australia,” he said. “There’s one at Coonabarabran [NSW], there’s one at the Islamic centre in Springvale [Melbourne] and there’s one at the African Seniors Club in South Brisbane”

“As you can see there’s a wide variety of sites and a they cover a wide spread. At the moment, there are kiosks in all states except for WA.

“What we are trying to do is to make the internet more accessible to people who would not otherwise be able to access it.”

Participants will be able to use the kiosks to find information about a range of topics including neighbourhood housing, local libraries, bowling clubs and health information.

Volunteer tutors will provide training and assistance at each of the kiosks using specially designed manuals.

“I think the biggest benefit for older Australians will be that the kiosks will give them access to information that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to access,” said Mr Cooke.

“And on a more human side, the kiosks will give them the opportunity to keep in contact with their children and grandchildren no matter where they are – whether they are interstate or on another side of the city.

“They will be able to keep in touch with the busy lives of their young teenage or eight-year-old grandchild over the internet in much the same way that grandchildren used to send letters to their grandparents.”

A total of 2,000 kiosks will be involved in the project and NEC will roll out a further 100 sites by the end of the month.

NEC and the federal government are still looking for community organisations to host kiosks.

For more information, click here or call 1300 795 897.



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