Volunteer tutor Terry Gow helping Ruth Ryan with computer skills at the CWA rooms in Bangalow.
Volunteer tutor Terry Gow helping Ruth Ryan with computer skills at the CWA rooms in Bangalow.

CWA goes high-tech

It must be the most loved shopfront in Bangalow, with its knitted tea cosies, hot-water bottle covers and baby jackets that sell like hot cakes, just as fast as the industrious CWA ladies can make them.


But now CWA Bangalow has gone high-tech with the installation of a computer that is set to change the lives of many of the shire’s seniors.


It all began when CWA secretary Sue Gow received an email from headquarters inviting participation in the Australian Government’s Broadband for Seniors initiative.


“I ignored it,” said Sue, “because we don’t even have a phone here in our CWA rooms – this would be way too complicated.”


But then a second email came along, and Sue decided she may as well apply and see what happened.


The application was accepted and so she took the idea to the committee, who decided it would be ‘a great idea for the community’.


The first hurdle was getting the phone put on – a complicated business of running wires through the roof of a building where a phone had never been in the CWA’s 80-year history.


A little alcove within the main room seemed the perfect spot to put the desk and chairs that came with the computer, and now it is all set to go for seniors who would like to learn the basics of email and internet with a volunteer tutor.


The service is available for anyone over the age of 50 in the Byron Shire who would like one-to-one tuition in a friendly, comfortable environment, and anyone from complete beginners to those wanting a few more skills are welcome.


“It’s not an internet cafe,” said Sue. “And it’s not for advanced training, but it would be very good, for example, for seniors wanting to email grandchildren, or wanting to do some research on the internet.


“We see this as a service for the community, and we always want to give to the community because they support us so well.”


The Broadband for Seniors initiative was created because ‘it has been shown that older Australians are disadvantaged if they can’t use computers and the internet’.


Anyone wishing to arrange a learning session, or to volunteer to join the two tutors already signed up, can phone Sue Gow on 6687 2619.


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