The Westlake’s Seniors Computer Club was founded in January 2000 by a handful of local residents who had the vision to establish a computer club where seniors and seniors with disabilities could learn to use and enjoy technology in a rapidly changing society. We are situated on the western side of Lake Macquarie in New South Wales nestled between the Watagan Mountains and the lake. Our rooms are at Cooranbong Community Service Centre. Our current membership is 540, and we have had 1,500 seniors pass though our books since our inauguration.
Many seniors had been given hand me up computers from their children and were placed in a situation of not being able to use the technology. Teaching institutions like TAFE were not seen as the ideal environment for seniors to learn in. Seniors prefer to be taught by people of a similar age group. They want to learn specific tasks and not undertake a course of information that may or may not be of use to them.
The Club has found that most seniors have a desire to learn word processing and in turn connect to an Email service so that they can communicate with their relatives for the cost of a phone call. Connecting to the Internet is also high on their priorities. As confidence and skills are developed, many members further develop their learning process through participating in workshops such as Desktop Publishing and Image Scanning.
The Club has a Buddy system which helps smooth the way should members new to computing experience problems.
The club has 18 computers for training and currently conducts workshops every day of the week. Classes are held during the week from Absolute beginners into most Microsoft programs – including Word Processing, Publisher, PowerPoint, Email and Internet
There are also special interest groups in Music on the Internet, and Photography.
In addition to the busy training workshop activities, informal Club Information Days with member demonstrations and guest speakers are held twice monthly, in the Cooranbong Community Hall. Regular cost effective social outings are also arranged.
In October 2007 we received a wonderful Microsoft donation through DonorTec of 25 copies of Windows Vista, 25 copies of Office Professional 2007, 2 copies of Expression Studio and 1 copy of Expression Web. The value of this very important donation was $26,675.
In addition to the Microsoft donation we also received a donation from CISCO of a CE 500 24 port Ethernet Switch Box, valued at over $800.
Because of the very generous Microsoft donation we can now offer our members classes in both Windows XP and Vista. The donation from CISCO allowed us to network our 18 computers which are divided into two rooms with nine computers in each.
These valuable donations were extremely appreciated by our club and we look forward to continued involvement with DonorTec