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Seniors helping seniors use computers and the internet

 

History of SeniorNet - page 1

The Foundation of SeniorNet Association Inc.

An initiative of the Ipswich City Council (ICC), in the city of Ipswich, Queensland, Australia, The SeniorNet Project was co-sponsored by the Department of Social Security (DSS) under its Community Information Network Program (now terminated). SeniorNet began in January 1995, when ICC appointed Dr. Hilda des Arts as Coordinator of the SeniorNet Australia Project. Hilda formed a steering committee to establish a local association of SeniorNet in Ipswich as a computer skills learning centre with social interaction for the region's seniors. The Ipswich SeniorNet association also served as a model for establishing SeniorNet branches elsewhere.

To launch SeniorNet, DSS loaned computers to the project, while Ipswich City Council provided supporting peripheral hardware, continuing financial, technical and administrative assistance, and training for a core group of members. Some of these founding members formed the Steering Committee and then the SeniorNet Management Committee under the Chairmanship of the late Dr. Hilda des Arts.

From the beginning, the project was active in two Ipswich regional retirement villages, with activity officers from each village being included in the core group training. This part of the project has been particularly effective, stimulating interest in computer operating skills, and providing equipment and training support for residents of the villages.

The SeniorNet Association in Ipswich was incorporated in August 1996. In February 1997 the management committee with help from Ipswich City Council and Global Info-Links, started work on establishing a SeniorNet training centre on the first floor of the W.G. Hayden Humanities Centre, South Street Ipswich.

Training courses in computer operating skills for SeniorNet members commenced in May '97 using four computers on loan from ICC. These computers used Windows 3.1 operating system programs, and were networked and Internet linked through Global Info-Links (GIL). Global Info-Links was Ipswich City Council's Internet Service Provider. An Ipswich based computer supply company, Silkstone Software, provided network hardware and software for the training centre computers. The Management Committee also acquired a funding sponsorship from the Queensland Government Department of Families, Youth and Community Care, and purchased two new Pentium computers using Windows 95 operating systems in July of 1997.

Training courses for Windows 95 programs commenced in August '97. Early in 1998, SeniorNet purchased an additional three new Pentium computers and offered members computer training in Windows 3.11 and Windows 95 platforms and associated software programs.

Membership

SeniorNet in Ipswich has members resident in all the eastern sea-board Australian states. Communication between members is facilitated by e-mail and the use of a web site based discussion group service (see the 'Discussion Group' link).

Sponsors.

SeniorNet's original sponsors were:-

Ipswich City Council and Global Info-Links
Department of Communities
Ipswich Hospital Foundation

Ipswich City Council through the management and members of the Global Info-Links team continued to provide vital support with administrative, technical and financial help. More importantly, their contribution of friendship and mentoring to the members of the SeniorNet management committee was valued even more than their formal sponsorship.

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