Chester’s Digital Buddies

April 24, 2018

A group of older people who have been learning how to use technology are proudly introducing a film about the inventor of wifi, Hedy Lamarr, as part of this week’s Storyhouse Women’s Festival.


Hollywood star Hedy Lamarr was known as the world’s most beautiful woman but she was also an ingenious inventor whose work is the basis for the technology we now cannot live without, including WiFi, GPS and Bluetooth.


Inspired by her story which was produced into a film ‘Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr story’ by actor Susan Sarandon, the Digital Buddies group are doing a short presentation prior to the film being shown on Friday 27th April. Digital Buddies is a group of older people who meet weekly with volunteers who help them to use their phones, laptops and tablets for everyday activities.


The project is run by Chester based social enterprise, Here and Now who received funding from the Brightlife partnership which works to reduce loneliness and social isolation amongst the over 50s. Realising the need to support older people with technology, the Here and Now team applied to Brightlife to fund the Digital Buddies project. Brightlife is part of the national Ageing Better programme made possible by National Lottery funding from the Big Lottery Fund.


Heather Backstrom from Here and Now explained: “At Here and Now we work to bring socially isolated people together in a friendly and relaxed environment. We realised a lot of the older people were interested in learning how to use technology – a few had been given tablets and mobile devices by younger family members – and so we came up with the Digital Buddies project and applied to Brightlife for funding.


“It works really well as we have volunteers such as IT students who come along and help them with all of the basics. These days a lot of this technology comes without any instructions so our volunteers take time to sit with them and write down step-by-step what they need to do to get connected. We have even helped people have video calls with relatives as far afield as Australia. Nowadays everything is online and older generations are having to catch up. Being able to make a difference to their lives in this way is incredibly rewarding and we are grateful to Brightlife for their support.”


Digital Buddies meet weekly at Storyhouse on Fridays 10am – 12pm and at Upton Library Wednesdays 2pm – 3pm. To find out more visit:





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