Get Online Week 2020: The Tec Exec says shire needs to be online

When it comes to older residents going online, Lyn Brown sings from an encouraging song-sheet.

"It's not too late and don't be afraid to ask for help," is her chorus.

The 77-year-old Denhams Beach resident conducts the Eurobodalla Shire's U3A Choir, which kept its tempo throughout the pandemic by transitioning online.

More than 60 members, mostly over the age of 80, meet weekly.

Singers of the U3A Choir meet on Zoom - something they look forward to each week.

Singers of the U3A Choir meet on Zoom - something they look forward to each week.

Before COVID-19, the choir would catch-up over afternoon tea at the Salvation Army Centre in Batemans Bay.

"Everyone would bring slices or cake and it would turn into a social event," Ms Brown said.

When the pandemic struck, organisers decided to keep the choir singing through Zoom - an online video platform.

However, Ms Brown said the transition "was not easy".

We have all these contactless technologies we have to do ... every single person in Australia has to be online now more than ever.

Trish Pye - founder of The Tec Exec

She went to Trish Pye of The Tec Exec for help.

"She would join in and she was fantastic," Ms Brown said.

Trish is founder and lead digital mentor of her company, which teaches digital literacy.

"We break things down to make it simple," Ms Pye said.

"The U3A is a vulnerable group, their choir is a social thing, if they didn't go online, they would have completely missed out and stayed at home not being able to connect.

Ms Pye tuned in with the choir for support.

"It made me cry - it was beautiful," she said.

"The first four weeks I stayed there as a mentor, and had to turn my video off because I had tears.

"The joy on their faces was priceless."

ZOOM AWAY: Members of the U3A Choir sign off after another successful session on Zoom recently.

ZOOM AWAY: Members of the U3A Choir sign off after another successful session on Zoom recently.

After mentors came to the choir's rescue, about 30 members continued to participate in the virtual sessions.

Lyn said the learning journey was all worthwhile.

"People our age shouldn't be afraid, they should just ask for help," she said.

"It's not too late.

"Your brain slows down and it's smaller, but doesn't mean we can't do it.

"Yes, it's more difficult, it just means we take longer to do it.

"We can keep learning into our 90s."

BEFORE: The U3A Choir at Stocklands Batemans Bay before COVID-19 restrictions.

BEFORE: The U3A Choir at Stocklands Batemans Bay before COVID-19 restrictions.

Ms Brown said the choir was more than just singing.

"Our choir will never win a competition, but the neuroscience of singing is proven to make us happier, healthier, smarter and more creative," she said.

"Experts have claimed, joining a choir improves symptoms of Parkinsons, depression and lung disease.

Choir conductor Lyn Brown said members in their 90s learned how to use Zoom.

Choir conductor Lyn Brown said members in their 90s learned how to use Zoom.

"It increases oxygen levels in the blood and triggers the release of the happy hormones such as oxytocin, which is thought to help lower stress levels and blood pressure.

"There's also something unique about the synchronicity of moving and breathing with other people."

The choir does something different each week and welcomes new members.

GET ONLINE: An NBN representative with Trish Pye (centre) and digital mentor of The Tec Exec.

GET ONLINE: An NBN representative with Trish Pye (centre) and digital mentor of The Tec Exec.

Get Online Week starts on Monday.

After bushfires destroyed passports and paperwork and the pandemic pushed everyday tasks online, Ms Pye said residents needed to get online "now more than ever".

"Get Online Week is a celebration, where we can talk to people about computers and they can talk to us and build confidence."

Trich Pye (left) with new digital COVID-19 health marshals in training at The Tec Exec.

Trich Pye (left) with new digital COVID-19 health marshals in training at The Tec Exec.

Ms Pye said guests from NBN and digital mentors will be at three shire locations.

"Come along, learn how to get online, then join us for the next lot of free mentoring sessions running later this month," Ms Pye said.

Ms Pye said learning to navigate the internet, made everyday tasks such as accessing government and health services, paying bills, online shopping and applying for jobs easier.

Call The Tec Exec on 1300 366 802 to register for one of the following information sessions:

  • Monday, October 19 - The Montague Room at Club Narooma, 1.30pm-3.30pm.
  • Wednesday, October 21 - The Poppy Room at the Batemans Bay Soldier's Club, 10am-1pm.
  • Thursday, October 22, The Job Shop Moruya, 53 Queen Street, 10am-1pm.
This story Calling everyone to get online ... It's not too late first appeared on Bay Post-Moruya Examiner.

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