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Get Online Week 2019 - David’s story

17 October 2019
David Stitson from Plymouth enjoys learning how to use a computer for the first time

Sanctuary Housing resident David Stitson says his new-found online skills have been “life changing”.

The 72-year-old, who lives in Plymouth, had no knowledge of computers and had all but given up on learning how to use one.

But this all changed when he decided to enrol with Sanctuary Online, a partnership between Sanctuary Housing and We Are Digital.

The programme offers bespoke training sessions to improve the computer skills of residents and boost their confidence.

Statistics show that 5.3 million people in the UK have never been online and there are 11.9 million people who don’t have the essential digital skills to navigate life and work.

The one-to-one tailor-made sessions made a huge difference to David’s learning experience and he said he “enjoyed every moment” working with tutor Paul Freathy.

“These sessions have been life changing,” David said.

In his first lesson, David was introduced to setting up an email account to enable him to communicate with family and friends, something he can now do with confidence.

David was also shown how to search the internet using Google and how to use the search engine’s voice technology, alleviating his fears of being slow at typing. He now rarely uses the keyboard and instead simply speaks into a microphone to access up to date information such as the weather or news.

In further sessions, David discovered online shopping and now orders his groceries online on a weekly basis.

He has also been shown how to complete forms online, including how to pay bills, meaning he no longer has to venture into town if the weather is bad.

In addition, David can now use the Sanctuary Housing website to report any issues he may have. Through doing this he is also able to see issues that other residents have reported and can be kept up to date.

Tutor Paul commented: “David was a great student, full of fun and very excited by what I showed him.”

David told his story as part of Get Online Week (14-20 October), a national campaign led by Good Things Foundation aimed at giving everyone the chance to find the help they need to improve their digital skills.