Virtual Tea for Two

Leeds residents recently enjoyed socialising online at two interactive vintage tea parties.

Vintage tea cups

It was back to the future for older Leeds residents who connected via Skype for vintage tea parties at two venues across the city. Leeds Federated tenants in Cragside Close, Kirkstall joined up virtually Belle Isle Tenant Management Organisation’s GATE - a new community resource centre - to enjoy tea, cake and tips on how to get online.

How to use digital technology  

The simultaneous tea parties were organised by Leeds Federated with JTM Service, the housing association’s laundry provider, as a part of a drive to encourage and support residents to use digital technology.  

Through its digital project called HUGO, the Leeds social housing provider is one of 12 throughout the UK piloting the government’s Digital Deal to get people online. Sue Jennings, community development manager with Leeds Federated, who leads its digital inclusion projects, said:

“For many older people, loneliness can be a real problem. The internet is a great way for them to talk to people, make new friends and keep in touch with their families. 

“Through our HUGO project we have seen how helping the older generation get online can combat isolation and it quickly becomes something they enjoy. The digital tea party was a fantastic way of giving people the opportunity to have fun, meet others and find out how getting online can benefit them.”  

John Middleton, MD of Leeds-based JTM Service, who helped to design the digital parties, said: 

“The aim of fusing a fun vintage party with modern technology was to show older people the benefits of being digitally savvy. Skype is a great stepping stone for learning how to get online and residents were keen to find out how they could link up with family and friends as far away as Australia.”   

What next?

Leeds Federated and JTM are planning to roll out more vintage digital tea parties to support residents to get online and to help combat social isolation.