In 2018, funded by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, Patricia Donald travelled to Australia and Japan to explore how digital inclusion learning programmes in both countries were enabling older people to reap the benefits of the Internet, e.g. reducing social isolation, improving independence, financial inclusion and better quality of life.

Such research would build on Advice NI’s digital inclusion initiatives by bringing back ideas and knowledge that could inform proposals to implement key policy areas both regionally and across the UK. While there are many excellent digital initiatives in the UK aimed at encouraging older people to go online, they are often short or ‘taster’ sessions e.g. Silver Surfers Day.

Programmes that offer longer term support help build confidence and motivation to ensure that older people are well placed to take advantage of digital systems and processes. This is particularly important as many of our government and other services move online and older people become even more at risk of exclusion.