Access to Technology for Older People Phil Robinson’s research for CGN

Phil Robinson, a CGN volunteer who is also an IT specialist, has recently developed an access to technology questionnaire for older people. This has been completed by CGN users and by people in sheltered housing in Brook Court (6) and Ivycourt (20). Approximately 70 people have been filled in to date – most age 70 or older. Some younger people filled in the questionnaire to compare their results to older peoples

The results haven’t been fully analysed but several themes have emerged. Older people overall are much more frightened of using computers, smart phones and the internet than younger people. There are, of course, good reasons to be concerned about being scammed, hacked, defrauded or even identity theft. If anything younger people are not concerned enough about these risks, but the deep fears that older people have leaves them unable to access services that they would like to use and benefit from. This can include mainstream technologies such as using their debit or credit cards at cash points or making contactless payments. Look at the queues in the local Santander branch in Chorlton of people doing face to face payments or withdrawals rather than using the technology

Some older people questioned insisted that they didn’t use a smart phone, a computer, tablet or the internet and that they had no inclination or need to use them. They would need a lot of persuading to get involved. However, many older people were interested and even had devices that they never used. What such people required was some one-to-one training and support, but this had to be tailored to their specific needs (and limitations), not just generic training on a fixed programme. Being shown how to do things on your smart phone or tablet also needed repeating and practice so that they wouldn’t forget how to do it once the trainer left. To this end, Phil has already given bespoke support to about 15 older people, many of them, CGN members

The killer application for most older people is, on the face of it, quite simple – swapping and viewing photos on line with relatives and friends. However, there are a variety of ways of doing this – via email attachments, WhatsApp, messaging apps or web based apps (eg Google Photos). Other relevant applications include:

  • Online clothes shopping
  • Ordering food online (a lot of older people use the phone based Wilshire Farm Foods who deliver meals to their door)
  • Online news – whilst younger people get their news from social media, older people tend to get it from traditional media (TV & newspapers)

We will continue with getting the views of older people to see what their needs are for in order to support them to make better uses of their smart phones and tablets (or use them for the first time). We are interested in:

  • Focussing on less mobile CGN users, who can rarely get out of the house
  • Look at making more use of Wi-Fi and on demand streaming in such places as sheltered housing lounges
  • Peer mentoring so that there are people who they see regularly who can help top up or reinforce any training given
  • Perhaps setting up a regular Technology Clinic at CGN on Thursday coffee mornings

    Bernard Leach 17-11-17

Talk on the History of Chocolate- including an Aztec drink

The thursday 2nd November History talk saw 40 people come to listen to Diana Leitch talking about the science of chocolate, including being able to sample the drink according to the recipe that was prepared by the Aztecs 2,000 years ago..

Everyone thought the talk was fascinating and really appreciated Diana’s knowledge and delivery. We hope she may come back to talk about the history of Pyrex next year..

Pharmacy students visit coffee morning

Thursday 2nd November coffee morning saw 7 pharmacy students now in their pre registration year with Boots, come along to carry out various activities with our older people. The students were looking at bone health and offered simple advice . This included simple exercises, guessing the percentage levels of Vitamin D in certain foods and giving literature about osteoporosi (a condition that weakens bones, making them fragile). The Department of Health recommends that older  people should take daily vitamin D supplements, especially during the winter months,to make sure they get enough.

The older people responded really well to the students input and enjoyed engaging in the different activities. The students reported that they were surprised at the number of people who came to coffee morning and were initially sceptical that they would be able to engage them. Fears were soon allayed once they got chatting around the tables.

New volunteer training session at CGN

On Wednesday 1st November 7 new volunteers came for  a session with CGN trainer Debra McCallion covering topics such as

  • What is working well with the volunteering
  • What are the challenges , in particular around 1-1 home visiting
  • Revision of volunteer boundaries
  • Confidentiality and safeguarding

CGN is still receiving inquiries from young people in full time work but willing to support an older person at weekends or early evening, either with home visits or taking them to the shops or out to a café


Films celebrating 50 years of Chorlton Good Neighbours

Films celebrating 50 years of Chorlton Good Neighbours can be seen at:

Impact Film


Volunteering Film


Sustainability Film

All films have been funded through a Celebrate Lottery Grant , and been produced by Hannah Powell from MACC community reporters, with input and support from volunteers and members of Chorlton Good Neighbours, and staff and pupils of Chorlton High School.

Helen Hibberd, Co ordinator
0161 881 2925

June 2017

Merryn Cook’s talk about Chorlton Open Gardens

Merryn Cook’s talk about Chorlton Open Gardens, Thurs Nov 17th

Marry Cook gave a talk about  Chorlton Open Gardens which this year was held on Sunday, 26th June. The first Chorlton Open Gardens event was held in June 2011 in aid of the charity ‘Freedom from Torture’. It has groen so now there are over 30 gardens to visit. Entry is by programme; each programme (@£5) admits one adult to all the open garden sites.Each year they have raised several thousands of pound for the charilty  ‘Freedom from Torture’

Net year is a fallow year, but Choirlton Open Gardens will be bavk in 2018


There are more than plants to look at in some gardensmerryn04
gazebos were useful in case there was rain!merryn03

People attending Merryn’s talk at Chorlton Good Neighboursmerryn

Merryn introducing her talk1b

Merryn with Jane Jefferson, between them they organise the Open Garden’s event


food is on offer at many of the gardensmerryn10 merryn08

Well prepared with map and bike to see as many of the gardens as possiblemerryn07

the view from a sedum roof of a shed merryn06

Jean Finney’s talk about witches and superstitions

 Witches and Superstitions

At the Good neighbours Coffee Morning on Nov 24th, Jean Finney gave a talk about witches and superstitions, This was part of the Chorlton Book Festival  ‘mystery ‘ theme. Over 60 people were there for the talk

witchcraft-talk-09 witchcraft-talk-08 witchcraft-talk-07 witchcraft-talk-06 witchcraft-talk-05

Jean Finney in full flowwitchcraft-talk-04

Enid Woods with Beverley from the Library 

witchcraft-talk-03 witchcraft-talk-02 witchcraft-talk-01

Jean Finney the speaker with Arthur who compered the session

Chorlton Good Neighbours hosts Age Friendly event

Chorlton Good Neighbours hosts Age Friendly Whalley Range and Chorlton event


On Thursday 10thNovember just under 90 people attended another successful event held at Chorlton Good Neighbours. Organised by Helen Hibberd, Co ordinator of CGN, and Chris Ricard and Loren Grant from the local Age Friendly Team, a series of speakers from various health backgrounds gave information, and answered participants’ questions.


Arthur makes and announcementage-friendly-7


Guest speakers included

  • Emma Gilbey, Programme Manager for Integrating care, spoke about the changes that are beginning to take place locally with the aim of bringing health professionals, social services and the voluntary sector together to work more effectively for its residents
  • Laura Cassidy, a neighbourhood health worker form BUZZ who described the services and support they could offer people to help lose weight, stop smoking and take up more exercise
  • Ellen Martinez with the local Falls team talked about how people could help prevent falls by reducing hazards in the home, and by taking exercise to strengthen bones and increase flexibility. She also introduced the topic of bone health. A further session advising about bone health will take place by the Falls team at Chorlton Good Neighbours coffee morning on Thursday 1st December 10-11.30am. This will allow individuals to come and speak with that team and have a preliminary assessment.
  • Loren Grant gave a presentation about nutrition as we enter the winter months and the importance of omega 3’s, vitamin D and some supplements.

age-friendly-5 age-friendly-4

Emma Gilbeyage-friendly-3

Part of the audience at the eventage-friendly-2

Mary O’Mahony and Angela Downing on the door, with Mary Watson, councillor for Whalley Range


Soup was provided by North Star deli and rolls /cakes were donated by the local Morrisons. Entertainment by Magic Barry and Dave Taylor rounded off the event; with grateful thanks as always to the fantastic Chorlton Good Neighbours volunteer team who provided endless cups of tea, served food and did all the washing up.

Helen Hibberd, Co ordinator,  Chorlton Good Neighbours

The Paralympics: From Manchester to Rio – Mark Todd

“Progression of Inclusive Design & Accessibility:  |
From Manchester to Rio Via London & Sochi”
A talk by  Mark Todd,   Nov 3rd 2016

Mark Todd has had  over 30 years experience in the field of disabled people’s access. Having played a key role in the disability movement, Mark became the first Access Officer at Manchester City Council overseeing the City Council access programme. and played a key copy in the 1988 campaign to make “Manchester – the Access City” – see the video at

This important contribution to the regeneration of the City was recognised in 1995 when he received The Mancunian of the Year Award from civic leaders.

Mark Todd

In 2001 he launched his own consultancy access all areas” and now specialises in Sporting Mega Events for clients such as the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002, the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games, Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the Rio 2016 Olympic & Paralympic Games. He is currently working for the Tokyo Paralympics organising committee for the games planned for 2020



Mark giving his talk at Chorlton Good Neighbours history group on Nov 3rd 2016.

It was a really excellent talk about access and other facilities for disabled people had improved since his first involvement in planning for the Paralympics and other big sporting events. The crowning glory to date were the 2012 London Paralympics, whilst there were big improvements at Sochi and Rio, but not to the extent of Londonmark-todd-audience

Members of the audiencehistory-01

Next step Tokyo!


Community Health Clinic Award

Community Health Clinic Award 

The community health clinic project set up by Chorlton Good Neighbours and active case managers based at Chorlton Health Centre won a NW Health and Social Care award in the Learning Together category

Gaye Jackson, Programme Manager for Health NW presented the certificate to the team at the coffee morning on 25-06-15, and was joined by Kathy Hearne, Head of Integrated Teams and Sue Ware, Lead Nurse for Community Services

Helen Hibberd who is the CGN coordinator (and was recently awarded a much deserved MBE) outlined the project and several volunteers and users shared their experience of using the Health clinic which runs at Thursday coffee mornings. All agreed that the project has been a great success and hope that it can continue indefinitely in the future

Eyewitness Theatre – Safeguarding adults workshop

On 25th Feb 2015 a group of volunteers from Good Neighbours went, together with the coordinator Helen Hibberd, to a workshop run by the Eyewiness Theatre company at Trinity House Rusholme. The theme of the workshop was Safeguarding adults. The did sketches in which the issues of discrimination against older people, their abuse and who makes decisions for older people where raised.

Following each sketch there was a discussion of the issues that had been raised and how volunteers assisting older people should react to the various scenarios presented.

It was certainly an innovative and engaging way of addressing some serious issues but I think we were all relieved when the actors announced right at the beginning that there was going to be know audience participation required in the sketches, so we were all able to relax and enjoy the workshop

IMG_20150225_144123 Volunteers from CGN , with Helen at the workshop


The three members of Eyewitness theatre company who performed at the workshopIMG_20150225_154615 eyewitness (1) eyewitness (2) eyewitness (3)  eyewitness (5)

Coffee Morning and Snooker

Here are some photos of the snooker afternoon on 3-02-15 and from the coffee monring of 12-02-15. These are two of Chorlton Good Neighbour’s weekly activities on Tuesdays (snooker) and Thursdays (coffe morning). The photos whihc have been produced as a slideshow were taken by CGN volunteer Keith Walshsnooker 05-02-15 - 01 snooker 05-02-15 - 02 snooker 05-02-15 - 03

bill snookeralice  05-02-15

Alice who is a student at Loreto 6th Form College, interviews Tess and other CGN coffee morning regulars as to their views of the Community Health Clinic that is running as a pilot project at CGN until Easteralice02  05-02-15

alice03  05-02-15


Making mosaics for the Good Neighbours Garden

In January 2015 we had two mosaic making workshops led by Nicola Winter. This time we branched out into making spherical mosaics on concrete mould made by Nicola. They were on the end of metal rods so that we could ‘plant’ the finished Alium style mosaics in the Chorlton Good Neighbours garden

IMG_20150123_122230Joyce and Dorothy hard at workIMG_20150130_123458

Some of the mosaic ‘aliums’. Put in the greenhouse to dry off before the final grouting session