iPad loan scheme goes ahead in Belle Isle & Middleton

Two new digital inclusion projects are being set up across Belle Isle and Middleton, with the aim of supporting local people develop their digital skills and confidence.

A new iPad loan scheme has been set up in South Leeds to help the elderly get on line, send e-mails, use Google to search and use a word processor to write documents.

Thanks to funding from Leeds Older People’s Forum, Belle Isle Senior Action (BISA) and Middleton Elderly Aid (MEA) will be working closely with older people living in the LS10 area, by providing free data enabled tablets to individuals and delivering an 8-week digital learning course.

Sonny Garewal, Project Manager at Belle Isle Senior Action said:

“Through our new digital inclusion project, alongside our partners Middleton Elderly Aid, we hope to connect older citizens of Belle Isle and Middleton with other people and services and unlock the digital barriers that many face. Both our tablet scheme and digital learning course will help older people access vital connections to clubs and groups, and learn essential digital skills.”

Belle Isle Senior Action’s digital course will run every Wednesday, with a morning (10am – 11.30am) and afternoon (1.30pm – 3pm) session at The 59 Club, 59 Belle Isle Circus, LS10 3DU, beginning Wednesday 16 June 2021.

If you live in Belle Isle and would like more information, please contact Ranbir Singh, Digital Inclusion Worker at BISA on 07399 036707 / (0113) 277 8208 or email digital@belleisle.org.uk

Samantha Ely, Chief Officer at Middleton Elderly Aid said:

”We have 10 tablets with 10 wifi if needed, for over 60s or 55 with a disability.

“Middleton Elderly Aid, will pay wifi for 6 months and loan tablets for 6 months with the hope the users wants to keep them in which case they will buy them off us for the cost price.

“We will then buy others and repeat the process again with other members.

“This is to get our members more digital. We have a volunteer teaching our classes and I am incorporating the tablets into this to show them how to use them.”

And if you live in Middleton, please contact Sam Ely on info@middletonelderlyaid.org.uk / (0113) 272 1050

In addition to this, Belle Isle Tenant Management Organisation (BITMO) have been successful in securing 50 data enabled tablets for its residents, with over 20 already being distributed. With the aid of Covid-19 Local Prevention Plan funding from Leeds City Council’s Public Health, BITMO are now able to loan digital equipment, alongside offering a range of online training and support opportunities so that people in Belle Isle can stay active, be involved in their community, get support for health conditions, and remain living independently and safely.

Carla Yeomans, Community and Tenant Support Manager at Belle Isle TMO said:

“We know now – more than ever before – how important being able to get online is. Here at BITMO we are delighted to be able to offer to support to those that need it, in ways we hope are straightforward and helpful. Through our tablet loan scheme, we hope to support those who might not be able to buy a device or have broadband in their homes, and those that find learning online skills tricky.”

If you rent your home from BITMO and would like to know more about their online services, support and tablet loan scheme, please call (0113) 378 2190 or email gate@belleisletmo.co.uk


Kenneth Ingram (Volunteer reporter)

Photo: Sonny Garewal, Carla Yeomans, Ranbir Singh and Samantha Ely


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