Leeds Council funding new social network to bridge the digital divide

Leeds Council is supporting a neighbourhood social network designed to provide elderly residents with new skills and bridge the digital divide in the region.

The Cross Gates and District Good Neighbours Scheme is one of the first to trial the new Yecco application and users are making the most of iPad tablets funded by Leeds City Council.

The residents meet once a week, to collaborate and learn how to use the app and use it at home.

The technology has been designed with the elderly specifically in mind and the app allows users to stay in touch with friends and family.

A former social care professional, developed the app as a way of making social media more accessible to older people to keep them in contact with people and help monitor their health with applications to measure heart rate, blood pressure and sugar levels.

Yecco’s creator said that Leeds Council is using “innovative things preventing social isolation and loneliness”.

I think we underestimated how quickly some of these older people have been able to pick up and embrace this technology and how capable they have become in such a short space of time.

I think it’s given them a sense of empowerment and control to socialise in a new way and bridge the digital divide using a new platform,” they added.

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Council’s executive member for health, wellbeing and adults said: “Digital technology and the internet can be the key to unlocking an incredible range of social opportunities for people, helping them to avoid sitting on the side lines while the world continues to advance so rapidly.

We need to take every chance we can to help equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to take full advantage of the digital age and the wealth of knowledge and experiences it has to offer.”

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