Free Wi-Fi for silver surfers in Salford

Silver surfers in Salford can now benefit from free Wi-Fi.

Housing association Salix Homes, which owns more than 8,300 properties across central Salford, has teamed up with Salford Council to have free Wi-Fi installed at its eight sheltered housing complexes for the elderly across the city.

The initiative comes after Salford was awarded £2 million from the Department of Culture Media and Sport to install free Wi-Fi access points in public buildings including libraries and community centres.

Studies have found that there are 7.4million people in the UK who have never used the internet, of which 6.3 million are over the age of 55.

Sue Sutton, executive director of operations at Salix Homes, said:

“In today’s digital era it’s more important than ever that we make it as simple as possible for our tenants to get online and more importantly stay online.

“Our aim is to get as many of our older tenants on the internet as possible, which we hope will help combat the feelings of isolation which are so common for older people and enable them to reconnect with their families and friends online.

“It’s important that everyone, no matter how old you are has the skills to get online. It’s wonderful to see how eager people are to take part and they are certainly proving you are never too old to learn.”

Salix Homes has been running Silver Surfer basic IT sessions for tenants at its sheltered housing complexes, which have proved a real hit with the older generation who are eager to embrace the digital revolution and explore the online world.

Salix Homes tenant Hilda Ellis, 73, from Langworthy, said:

“My family bought me a tablet computer because they said I had to get into the modern world, but I didn’t have a clue what to do with it at first – I didn’t even know how to turn it on.

“The IT sessions have been brilliant, I’ve learnt how to email and how to Skype and now I can use it to keep in contact with my family in Australia.”

Councillor Gena Merrett, Assistant Mayor for Housing and Environment at Salford City Council, added:

“Free Wi-Fi is fantastic news for people in sheltered accommodation and it will make a positive difference to their lives.

“The use of the internet has exploded in recent years and we want to make sure people have the connectivity they need. People can now communicate with family and friends for free, pay bills online and research prices before making a purchase.”