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Supporting people in later life around digital technology

We've awarded a grant to Good Things Foundation for new research with people in later life around digital technology.

We want to develop a deeper understanding of why some people in later life become sustained internet users, whilst others only use the internet rarely or never, and even stop using it altogether.

According to the latest ONS report on internet use in the UK, approximately 40% of people aged 65 and over have not used the internet in the last three months, compared to only 4% of people between 16 and 64.

Helping people in later life to get online in the ways that they want will help them access information, advice and services more easily and cheaply, as well as connecting with people and activities that matter to them. As key services such as banking, pensions and utilities move increasingly online, people who don’t use the internet will face a growing disadvantage.

There are already plenty of existing products and services online that people in later life could use to do things that they want or need to do. However, people don’t want to take these up – 93% of non-users aged 65 and over have no intention to use the internet. Our focus is therefore on demand and how to unlock it.

Good Things Foundation will be conducting research with people in later life – including those who have used the internet in the past but have now stopped – to understand the ways they want to use the internet and the barriers they face. We want to identify promising offline approaches to help more people in later life benefit from the internet, and access the information, advice and services that they want and need.

Jemma Mouland, Senior Programme Manager for Innovation at the Centre for Ageing Better, said:

“We are very pleased to be working with Good Things Foundation to develop a better understanding of how people in later life want to use the internet, what’s stopping them and what could help. There is a growing risk that those in later life will lose out by not using the internet, as the best deals and access to services, entitlements and opportunities move online. If we want to find effective and lasting solutions, we need to start by understanding people’s needs, priorities and interests.”

James Richardson, Research and Innovation Manager at Good Things Foundation, said:

“Although our network helps thousands of older people every year to gain digital skills and confidence, there’s still a long way to go. The experiences and personal circumstances of many older people means they’re less likely to start learning how to use computers and the internet, and more likely to drop out if they do get started. We’re delighted that the Centre for Ageing Better recognises this problem and is funding new research that will inform innovative, practical approaches for digital inclusion practitioners across the UK.”

Good Things Foundation will begin gathering insights in April 2017 and will be working with Online Centres across the UK to recruit participants for the research. The research is due to be completed by December 2017.

Good Things Foundation

Good Things Foundation is the UK’s leading digital inclusion organisation, helping the most vulnerable and excluded in society to engage with and benefit from digital technology. Working with the national network of over 5,000 Online Centres, Good Things Foundation has supported more than 2 million people across the country to become digitally confident and capable since 2010. Good Things Foundation provides a suite of free online learning tools to support digital and social inclusion, including the Learn My Way basic digital skills platform.