Access to the internet switched on at 22 sheltered housing schemes across the borough

Luton Borough Council switches on internet connections at sheltered housing schemes.
Luton Borough Council switches on internet connections at sheltered housing schemes.

Residents in sheltered housing now have better access to the internet.

Luton Borough Council officially switched on the new service, which includes access to a computer and wi-fi in each of its 22 sheltered housing schemes, on Friday, December 11.

The launch, which was held at Acworth Court, was very well attended by sheltered housing residents who heard from project manager Kate Savenko, activity co-ordinator Dan Hicks and service director Mo Harkin.

Maureen Linane, sheltered area panel chair, provided words of encouragement and asked residents to take the opportunity to engage with the new service. Tenants also shared their experiences of using the internet to regularly connect with family and friends.

Residents received a copy of Digital Matters, a special edition of the councils’ tenant newsletter, which included tips and useful websites to help residents get online.

As part of the project, the council will also be facilitating training sessions with Luton Adult Learning to encourage and support residents to access online services.

Cllr Tom Shaw, portfolio holder for housing said: “It was really positive to see so many residents at the launch and it was also encouraging to see they were interested in starting to use the new service.

“Within a few minutes of the switch-on residents were already supporting each other to use the new computer and access wi-fi on their own devices. We’re committed to ensuring that Luton residents aren’t digitally excluded and we’re looking forward to hearing how our sheltered housing residents are benefitting from the new service.”

Heather Hammond, team co-ordinator, sheltered housing, added: “I have seen first hand how computers can successfully enable older people to participate and engage with this increasingly digital world.

“It’s brilliant to see the surprise and excitement when people start to video chat and they can see their loved ones on the other side of the world. That is an experience which they probably didn’t think would happen, but with a little support, video chatting has become as easy as a phone call.

“I’m looking forward to seeing our sheltered housing residents enjoying being online and taking advantage of all the other fantastic opportunities the new computers offer.”