Digital Inclusion: Supporting the Asian community in Leicester  

Cooke e-Learning Centres help people in Leicester's more deprived areas get online. The centre helps older people, people with long term conditions or mental health problems to learn about computers and the internet while also building confidence, improving mental wellbeing and reducing isolation.

About South Asian health issues

Transcript of Digital Inclusion: Supporting the Asian community in Leicester



The Cooke e-Learning Foundation is a social enterprise charity

based in the heart of Leicester.

Our main aim for our charity is to take people online

and bridge the digital divide.


We work with a lot of older people,

people who have got low skills, low literacy. People with mental health.

It's bridging that gap of getting them online.

Your wealth is your health.



If you are healthy, you can do almost anything one could desire.

But if people have difficulties with learning disabilities,

mental health issues

or any other medical conditions like diabetes or heart conditions, or stroke,

people need to be aware where they can get help and support from.

And it is a place like Cooke e-Learning Centre

who provide that vital link, the link between the patient or service user

and accessing places, services where they can be referred to.

For nearly two years, I was in big depression

and I'm starting here to coming on my every lessons

and learning English and computing.

And I learned a lot.

I can do NHS Online and I can learn a lot of things from Cooke e-Learning.

I do suffer quite a bit from psoriasis so I found quite a bit about psoriasis

and what foods to eat and what not to eat.

And there are videos as well of people who had psoriasis

and how they all came with it and what they did about it

and it's quite amazing to find out so much

as you can go online for NHS Choices and find a lot.

We believe that digital

can really transform the way in which people engage with the health service.



So they can use online services to read about their health,

to book appointments, to give their feedback.

But that isn't going to happen unless people can get online.

Eight million people have never been online in their lives in this country

and who are they?

Exactly the people who most use the health service.

Older people, poorer people, people with long-term conditions.

And the flagship projects are working in local communities

with exactly those kinds of audiences.

There's only so much we can do nationally from the top down in the NHS

and what's really good to hear is the grassroots, bottom-up approach

is going on out here in this community in Leicester and others like this.

Places like Cooke e-Learning Centre provide that vital communication link

where people here, the staff are bilingual,

people can relate to them speaking in Gujarati or Hindi

or Punjabi or Urdu as well.

(woman on screen) Healthy living, exercise...

We work with a lot of people with a lot of ESOL needs,

so English is not their first language.

But equally, they didn't have the opportunity to use technology

when they were at school.

But with our learning and with the courses that we're running,

people are finding it quite interesting and exciting and we make learning fun.

It's been interesting for us because what's happened is

they've always had people say that they go to the local doctors to get advice.

What we're saying to them is,

you can get information 24/7, and they couldn't believe it.

Younger generation nowadays, for them it's a piece of cake,

because it is their world now,

they live in a world of information and technology.

But for older people, naturally this is something, it's like a taboo really.

To get that help and support in a conducive environment

where people do not feel intimidated

and the staff here are very nice, very friendly, very supportive.

They make those service users feel at home, at ease.

(Baz) A lot of people do want to talk about health issues

but they don't know who to turn to sometimes.

So we've opened a world of opportunity for people to say,

"OK, you do have certain conditions, we can show you a website

where you can find more information about your condition

and what other services are available."

Which sometimes they don't get from their local doctors.

The other thing we're introducing them to

is how to book a doctor's appointment online.

Not everybody gets this opportunity

and sometimes when they ring early in the morning,

the phone is engaged, they can't get the appointment

and on that day the appointments are totally booked.

Now we're introducing them to an online booking system

and also doing repeat prescriptions, which has helped them.

When I started to learn computing

and when I lost a page when I had typed something,

I thought I had lost everything.

But no, it was there, but it's how you work on computers

and it's very simple things, but once you know how to master computers,

how to do certain things, you feel great.

You feel positive that, yes, I have achieved something.

And this is what Cooke e-Learning Centre provides.

We have a learner out there who is one of our star champions

who is the age of 87. She's come on to several of our programmes,

she's done a project with us in terms of diabetes and learning.

It's a great blessing for me, this institution.

I'm 86 and I'm learning a lot by coming here.

I've taken many courses, flower arranging, sewing classes,

patchwork and the computer.

And about the NHS.

So whatever I want, I can do on the computer.

(woman) You see the difference after a couple of sessions.

You see the difference in confidence

and everything has made a big change to them.

One service user, she's a lady in her 40s,

she suffers with mental health difficulties,

she comes to my centre and I referred her to Cooke e-Learning Centre.

And within one year, she has learned a lot of things

and the transformation of this lady in one year's time has been tremendous.

Really tremendous.

What we find is the elderly population who come to our centre

take it to their family and say, "This is what I learned today."

Women come out to find out more things than men.

And it is a barrier and they sort of get the information as well.

But we're also finding that if a gentleman does come in

and we ask his friends to come in, they come in groups as well.

In 2000, I had only two male service uses at Savera.

Now there are more than 25.

And they regularly come to the centre and we talk about, you know,

issues that connect with men.

It's smoking or drinking, personal hygiene,

how to look after... how to become active.

Take up sports, to reduce that isolation, rather than staying at home.

They are equipping people with that knowledge

and confidence that yes, we, too, can work on computing,

we can access information online.

I personally feel that this is something very important

what Cooke e-Learning are doing

and service users who access have told me how it has benefited them.

Really inspiring to come along today

and to see the great work here at Cooke e-Learning.





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