Coding with over 60’s in Beeston and Hunslet

Leeds Libraries has trialled a series of Hour of Code workshops with Over 60s in partnership with South Leeds Live at Home.

The main objective of the sessions was to use digital technology to promote the health benefits that mind-stimulating activities have on older people. Their coding activities for children and families are extremely successful, so they thought similar activities would be popular with this new audience.

When the groups of Over 60s were approached, the first question they asked was: Why would Over 60s want to learn how to code? The groups were adamant they were not looking for a career break into software developing any time soon! To answer the question, the benefits of coding rather than the activity itself was discussed.

What are the benefits of Coding?

  • Coding can keep your brain sharp: According to a recent study, engaging in problem solving activities can help to protect an ageing brain. Coding challenges the brain and the act of learning to code will strengthen your mental faculties.
  • Coding can help to relieve stress: We need to find ways to turn off the noises in our heads and relax; when you’re coding, you shut the world out and concentrate on the task in front of you.
  • Coding can keep you social: Coding is more fun when you’re doing it with someone else; helping each other and problem solving together can be a lot more fun. It’s interesting to see which challenges you face and which ones others face – teamwork makes the dream work!
  • Similar to crosswords and puzzles, a code a day can keep your brain 10 years younger!

After hearing more about the benefits of coding, there was interest and curiosity from the groups and they gave it a go!  They completed the Hour of Code activities in less than an hour.

The activity provided lots of laughs along with the learning; Refreshments were provided with tea, coffee and biscuits which all of the group members said helped their minds work!

A huge well done to all of the ladies that took part!

The feedback received was really positive:

Rachel: “I never would have thought this was something I would have tried. I had heard about this coding from my grandson and I didn’t know what it was. I can’t wait to show him my certificate and tell him that I have coded!”

Betty: “I really enjoyed the challenge. It reminded me of coordinating my shopping trolley around the supermarket.”

Nellie: “I would like to do more of these activities. I found it kept me focused and I like to be challenged!”

Audrey: “It beats Sudoku!”

The Hour of Code certificates were VERY popular with the groups, and their sense of achievement was enhanced because they had a certificate to show to friends and family members.

After the fantastic feedback from the group members on the initial workshops, Leeds Libraries are running further coding sessions for over 60s. Where group members faced accessibility issues in visiting their local libraries, they have delivered sessions in community venues so that more people can take part.

All of the ladies who completed the Hour of Code have either framed their certificates or put them in positions of pride on their walls. They have felt a real sense of achievement in telling others about their coding experience.  There will be more activities to develop coding skills and confidence for the over 60s – watch this space!


This post was written by Rachel Benn using our Create an article for South Leeds Life page.