Pearl, 75, now an IT whizz thanks to Google

on site: The Digital Garage is a place where anyone can come and learn how to harness the power of the internet. Picture: chris etchells
on site: The Digital Garage is a place where anyone can come and learn how to harness the power of the internet. Picture: chris etchells
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A chance encounter with Google’s Digital Garage in Sheffield has helped transform Pearl Page-Green from a part-time IT user into a ‘gadget granny’.

The 75-year-old was walking to John Lewis when she happened upon the facility in Barker’s Pool. Seeing what kind of training was on offer, she could not believe that the facility, run by the biggest search engine firm in the world, was free.

“The nice man inside assured me it was and I made an appointment for the following week,” she said.

“There were a few things I needed to catch up on. One of the priorities I had got then was I wanted to catalogue my photographs and also to save my Whatsapp statements, as there was a lot of things on them that were really interesting.

“I am being pressured in a nice way to maybe put my memories together. I have been lucky and had a very interesting life. I am 76 in November and still enjoying life. And this has really helped with that. My Grandchildren call me ‘gadget granny’.”

She along with her husband John are keen travellers, having motorcycled together around America, Australia and New Zealand.

It was on one of their trips abroad that Ms Page-Green took the plunge and bought an iPad. Her husband would soon follow suit and now the pair have a host of PC and tablet equipment which they use on a day-to-day basis.

Ms Page-Green herself has booked in for multiple sessions and is hoping to get booked in for at least one more session before the end of October.

She added that her children, three grandsons and granddaughter who is pregnant, have been very supportive of her digital journey.

Speaking of the help she received at the Digital garage, she said: “It has tidied up a lot of things I already knew. It was like I knew ‘A and D’ but not ‘B and C’.

“I have also had a different person every time.

“That was something I initially was a bit bothered about as I am all for continuity. But in actual fact it was a benefit because you get a different view on things.”

Google recently hosted a ‘Bring Your Grandparents to the Digital Garage’ day to help older people overcome any fears they may have of engaging with technology.

May King Tsang, a trainer based at the Digital Garage in Sheffield, said: “Learning online skills at an older age can help keep people connected within local communities and to friends and family further away.

“However, it can be daunting for older people who feel as though ‘digital’ is another world to them.

“That’s why we recently hosted a ‘Bring Your Grandparents to the Digital Garage’ day, where older people were encouraged to come in and meet others who felt like they were in the same boat when it comes to online skills.”

To register for a course visit g.co/SheffieldGarage.

Dedicated team of trainers there to ease the fear of the unknown

The Google Digital Garage initiative is looking to boost older generations’ confidence at online skills such as learning how to set up an email address, use video calling or even help with the basics of search.

May King Tsang said: “When speaking to the many older people who have come into the garage looking for help and advice, we’ve realised that fear of the unknown plays a big part in preventing them from seeking advice.

“We have a wonderful team of trainers who are equipped to help people of all ages and at all levels, meaning older people can come in and learn the basics without feeling rushed, and what’s more the training is free of charge.”

The search giant has also teamed up with consumer group Which? to offer sessions on how to stay safe and secure online.

“The aim is to help older people learn how to spot and avoid the latest and most common online scams and threats,” says May King Tsang.