Click and Connect: New digital literacy program to help isolated seniors get connected

Click and Collect

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Penrith City Council, in partnership with the community organisation Leep, will run a series of workshops throughout the year to help isolated senior residents grow their connections and digital skills.

The Click and Connect workshops will teach the fundamentals of using a tablet or smartphone to access important information and services and connect with family, friends and loved ones.

The project has been partly funded by a grant for $40,000 awarded to Council under the NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) Reducing Social Isolation for Seniors Grant Program. The DCJ grant combined with contributions from Council and Leep will fund the purchase of technology and provision of digital literacy workshops across the City.

Leep is a non-profit organisation with expertise in building digital literacy in local communities. Their ‘tech mates’ program provides one-on-one support to help people learn about technology and use it confidently and safely.

Council is launching the Digital Literacy Workshops with Leep as part of Penrith’s Seniors Festival 2022 (which runs from 25 March to 3 April), celebrated throughout NSW. There will be 10 workshops held throughout the year.

Locations in St Marys, North St Marys, Colyton, Kingswood and Penrith have been selected for the initial workshops however the program is open to all older and isolated seniors across the City and can be located in response to local interest and need.

Technology plays an important role in the lives of older people in maintaining independence and social connection. Penrith is home to a growing ageing population – more than 20 per cent of the community in the Penrith Local Government Area is aged 50 and over* and 23.7 per cent of older people in the City have no access to an internet connection where they live.

In November 2021, Council published a report on the Social and Economic Impacts of COVID-19. The report ranked ‘social isolation and feeling lonely’ as the third highest challenge for Penrith residents during the pandemic based on data generated through local resident surveys. According to the report, local services struggled to engage with vulnerable groups, particularly older culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) residents, due to digital access barriers during lockdown.

Council is working with the local sector to reach isolated seniors including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Culturally and Linguistically diverse residents to improve their awareness, access and ability to effectively use technology.

Penrith Mayor Tricia Hitchen said the free program will really benefit participants and be instrumental in bridging the digital divide in our City.

“The COVID-19 pandemic was tough for everyone in our community but it really highlighted a gap in communication and information sharing, especially among our isolated seniors,” Cr Hitchen said.

“Council was proactive and held regular meetings with community and multifaith leaders who revealed concerns about older CALD residents being cut off, unable to access support services and vital health and vaccination advice.”

“Council staff moved quickly to prepare and distribute flyers to residents with printed information, in various languages, and while it may have helped we don’t want this to happen again – our CALD population and older residents in general must have access to services at all times.”

“Council is thrilled to be able to deliver the much-needed Click and Connect program to residents of our City and we thank the NSW Government for their support in funding this initiative.”
To register your interest in the program, contact Leep on 1300 163 106.

For more information, please contact Michael Laing at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 4732 7405.

*Figures taken from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (Census) data.

Information contained within this news release was correct as at Tuesday, 29 March 2022.