Google and Age Action are once again joining forces in the search to find Ireland’s top Silver Surfers. The Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, today launched the 2014 Google Silver Surfer Awards with Age Action at the Soda Lab in Google’s EMEA Headquarters in Dublin.
Google and Age Action are asking people across the country to nominate a friend, neighbour or relative who has embraced technology and made it part of their daily life. Be it connecting with loved ones on the other side of the world, arranging travel plans or using it to pay the bills, more and more of the over 50s in Ireland are taking to the online world and Google and Age Action want to highlight their achievements.
Speaking at the launch, Minister Rabbitte said, “The internet and digital applications are now central to our lives. They empower people in so many ways. Too many older people are still missing out on these opportunities. The Government wants to ensure that no one is left behind. Telling older people about the opportunities available to them online is important, but showing them is even better. That's why I am a strong supporter of the Silver Surfer awards an inspiration to others that there is so much for them online and it’s never too late to learn.”
Last year’s overall winner was 61-year-old grandfather, David Lowen from Greystones, Co. Wicklow. It was his love of music that gave David his taste of the online world. Regularly streaming music through sites Spotify, David also learned to shop, bank and book holidays online. Since winning the award, David has embarked on a digital photography course to help him build his impressive photography collection.
Sinead Gibney, Social Action Manager, Google said: “This is now the 4th year of our partnership with Age Action on the Silver Surfer Awards and every year it has continued to grow at an impressive rate. Last year we had over 200 entries, the highest number we have ever received and we hope that this will continue in 2014. The online world is a place that everyone should feel comfortable with and enjoy and by honouring some of Ireland’s best examples of Silver Surfers, we hope that many more older people will be encouraged to get online.”
Robin Webster, CEO of Age Action added: “Through our experience teaching thousands of first-time users how to use a computer and get online, we have seen the transformative effect which new technology has had in dramatically enhancing the quality of older people’s lives. However, some older people are still fearful and hesitant about signing up for a class. We hope that by highlighting the achievements of this year’s Silver Surfers we will encourage many more people to enjoy the benefits of the online world. We would urge people to nominate an older person who uses technology, not only to acknowledge their achievements, but also to inspire many more older people to ‘take the plunge’.”
There are five award categories this year. The public can nominate someone for an award by filling in a form online atwww.ageaction.ie/silversurferor by phoningAnne Marie on 01 475 6989. Closing date for nominations is Sunday, October 5, 2014.
The winners of the Google Silver Surfer Awards with Age Action will be announced at an award ceremony on October 20 at Google Headquarters in Dublin.
Google and Age Action are looking for nominations in five categories:
- New to IT Award
A person over the age of 50 who is new to technology and has overcome challenges to become an IT user.
- Hobbies on the Net Award
An older person who uses the Internet to pursue their passion or hobby or who uses IT for communication and social networking.
- IT Tutor(s) of the Year
An individual or group of any age who provides voluntary support to older learners.
- Google Silver Surfer Award
An older person who embraces the internet or technology with a sense of fun and adventure.
- Golden IT Award
An individual over the age of 80 who uses technology to enhance their life.
About Age Action
Age Action is a charity which promotes positive ageing and better policies and services for older people. Working with, and on behalf of, older people we aim to make Ireland the best place in the world in which to grow older.
Age Action also runs a Getting Started Programme which teaches older people basic and improvers Internet and IT skills in their offices in Dublin, Kildare, Louth, Wexford, Cork, Waterford, Mayo, Roscommon and Galway and also through partnership with Dublin City Council in sheltered housing through the city. The programme is all run by volunteers who give of their time and there is a constant need to build up a panel of volunteers who will teach older people on a one-to-one basis.