Start Point in Stockport Starts Something Special

10 Feb 2014 |Written by Chris Andersson

Ask most people at Good Things Foundation and they'll tell you that one of the best parts of the job is the opportunity to visit the people and organisations we work with on the ground. UK online centres are all very different but they all work tirelessly for their communities, to help people make the most of digital technology (amongst countless other things).

On Friday, I had the privilege to visit Start Point in Stockport as they linked the Start Something campaign with the British Heart Foundation's Ramp Up the Red Day. By working with a local expert in post cardiac trauma care, they encouraged a group of older learners to discuss their health, their calorie intake and then get online to find out more about exactly what's in what they eat and drink.

Paddy, a volunteer tutor at Start Point explained just how appropriate the session was for their learners. He told me that many of their learners had a serious health condition they were managing, and two of his regular learners had had a heart attack in the last year.

It's pretty inspiring to see the team at the centre use issues that are clearly important to their target audience to reinforce their online learning, proving to an older generation that computers and the internet have a real relevance to their lives - and can even go a long way in helping to improve them.

Some people, of course, don't need persuading. It was wonderful to meet Christine, who first bought a tablet so she could keep in touch with a grandson studying abroad and has never looked back. In the space of five minutes she had shown me the town in Zimbabwe where she used to live, and her grandson’s Connecticut university campus, on Google Earth. You can read all about Christine over on the UK online centres website, including why having an online granny hasn't always worked out well for her grandson!

I could (and will) write about Start Point for a lot longer - including the incredible work they're doing with digital and financial inclusion for the under 25s - but for now I'll just say a big thanks to centre manager Nicola, tutors and community development activists Ryan and Laura, and a whole host of dedicated volunteers for letting me see just a small part of the fantastic work they do every day.

Keep up the good work!