Thursday, 23 July 2009 03:58

Telstra funds grassroots development of tech-savvy seniors

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Telstra is offering a new round of grants of up to $A50,000 to help community groups teach seniors about using mobile phones and computers.

Telstra Connected Seniors grants provide funding of up to $A5000 for local organisations or $A50,000 for state or territory organisations that run workshops to convey the benefits of mobile phones and computers to seniors.

Applications are made via the Telstra Seniors site and close on August 27.

While this particular program is aimed at local and state organisations, Telstra is also prepared to fund national organisations.

"Learning to communicate with friends and family either online or by mobile phone is usually the first step for seniors," said David Moffatt, Telstra consumer group managing director.

"Once they've gained confidence in their ability to use new technology to text, email and send and receive photos via email there's a world of new activities to explore like researching family trees, re-uniting online with old friends and seeking travel and holiday information," he added.

Potential grant recipients will need to explain the specific need or problem they intend to address, how the project will be carried out, who will deliver and manage it, and what the outcomes will be.

Organisations that have previously received similar grants will be judged in part on their previous performance.

One snag with the scheme is that "Not-for-profit community organisations with a member base of people primarily aged 60 and over are eligible to apply for a Telstra Connected Seniors grant."

This would appear to rule out a number of organisations such as computer user groups that would be well placed to deliver such workshops. While such groups often have a substantial number of older members, they might fail the "primarily aged 60 and over" test.

One option would be to partner with an organisation that does meet that condition to deliver training to the senior members of both groups.


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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