“It gives me a real lift every week. I’m learning new things, but of course it’s the social element, the companionship, which makes this group so special.”
Sylvia Meredith is secretary of the popular Coffee and Computers group based in Raglan. Coffee and Computers is a weekly social group helping people living in and around Raglan to get online and learn how to use the web.
The group is led by volunteer tutors who are on hand to help people get to grips with using their laptops and tablets in an informal setting over a cup of tea or coffee. The group meet weekly at the Raglan Fellowship Centre, and after three years of being coordinated by Monmouthshire Housing Association, Coffee and Computers formed its own charter and has become self-sufficient. This means the group funds itself through sponsorship and grants and has its own management structure.
Sylvia explains: “I originally joined Coffee and Computers after my grandchildren encouraged me to get a tablet and stay in touch with my family online. I use email and Facebook and I love my tablet – I find using the apps easy. I really enjoy the Raglan Matters Facebook page too. There’s always new things on there including historic photos of Raglan, local people, news and information. I use Raglan Matters to keep up to date with what’s happening locally.
“But it’s the social side of things that really makes our group so special. We share life’s ups and downs. We sometimes go over to the pub after we meet and we had a Christmas lunch together recently. For many members it’s the only opportunity they get to go out and meet people each week. There aren’t many social groups available locally and many members live alone too, so the companionship element is vital. I’m now the secretary of the group and I enjoy the responsibility of it. MHA has been so supportive of the group over the years and they’ve empowered us to become self-sufficient. Coffee and Computers has a bright future!”