Hackney’s older residents tuning into the digital age

The over-55s team. Pic: Hackney Homes

Hackney’s over-55s have joined the internet revolution with a weekly radio broadcast aimed at raising awareness of issues and concerns of the borough’s older generation.

A group of residents in the area have taken to the airwaves every Thursday at the Hackney Picturehouse cinema on Mare Street to talk about current issues as part of their ‘Over 55s’ broadcast.

Each week they discuss a range of topics, drawing from their own personal encounters and experiences.

A spokesperson for the project said that this kind of broadcast was bringing the over-55s’ voice into the digital realm.

“This is absolutely not conventional 20th century terrestrial radio programming. It’s 21st century digital participation.”

One aim of the project was to elevate the profile of older members of the community.

“We want to raise awareness of the over-55s’ issues and concerns, to provide a voice and to raise their profile.”

The spokesperson explained: “The topics of discussion vary from their sense of place, to where they have been and where are they going to.

“There are discussions revolving around their perspective on the young people of today and the way their lifestyle has changed.

“Some broadcasts have also talked about their thoughts on how older people are viewed in society.”

Each broadcast has a theme to centre discussion around, such as ‘Food in our Lives’ and ‘Where is Home’.

Speaking to Hackney Today, member Prudence Smith said: “These are powerful sessions. We all have stories to tell that we haven’t told our children, friends or anyone.

“This radio project allows us to use our experiences to help others.”

Leon Bonjo, resident and member said: “This project is very interesting and it’s great to hear the different perspectives coming from the group.

“There is a good mixture of backgrounds, cultures and genders which represent Hackney.”

The spokesperson added: “The older generation in Hackney are vital and visible contributors to both digital culture and local history. The reception has been very enthusiastic.”

To listen to the broadcast, tune in every Thursday 10:30am – 12:30pm at http://hackneystream.net or visit the online archive at: http://soundcloud.com/hackneystream/sets/hackneyhomes.

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