Pensioner leads technology drive for the over-65s

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A COMPUTER-SAVVY pensioner has taken on the challenge of encouraging older people in the town to embrace new technology.

Colin Rout, 69, offers weekly sessions at St Leonards Community Centre, to a range of people - from those who have not previously used computers to those with more specific queries.

Mr Rout, of Park Drive, has been running the computer workshops three times a week through the charity WRVS, since 2008.

The workshops have become so popular, there is now a waiting list, as the maximum numbers that can attend are between four and seven.

He said: “There is no fixed programme, we just tailor the help to individual needs. We get people of all different levels.

“Someone may have been given a computer by a family member, and want to know how to use it, or perhaps they have seen a link to a website on TV and would like to know how to access it.

“Others ask for help with specific programs, such as email or Excel spreadsheets.”

Mr Rout himself has always kept up to date with technology, and uses Skype to stay in touch with his son, who lives in Prague. He even has a Facebook account.

But he explained that many older people are put off from using computers or the internet, as they think it will be too complicated to learn how.

“The people I teach pick up how to use computers just as quickly as teenagers and turn into competent users within a couple of sessions,” he said.

Because of the workshops he runs, Mr Rout has been entered in O2’s Guru for Life competition, which is searching for the most tech-savvy over-65s, nationwide, and challenging the assumption that technology is only for the young.

The deadline for entries is Monday (August 1), and for more information visit www.o2.co.uk/gurusforlife.

To find out more about the computer workshops in St Leonards contact the WRVS on 01424 717674.